The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) wants chartered accountant Gareth Ducler Des Rauches – who looted a deceased estate of more than R17m – banned from practising for life, calling his conduct unbecoming of what is expected in the profession.

Business Day report says a disciplinary hearing found Ducler guilty of having stolen from the estate of Durban socialite Roy Eckstein, who died in a scooter accident in Cape Town in 2012.

Ducler also fleeced Eckstein’s trust and company, Topspec Investments. 

Ducler did not bother putting up a defence at his disciplinary hearing, and has refused to co-operate with the regulator since 2018, conduct that he was also found guilty of in absentia.

The regulator has asked the disciplinary hearing to bar Ducler as a registered auditor for life.

‘Instead of pleading to the charges levelled against him, the respondent addressed letters to Irba, informing it that he will not participate in any disciplinary hearing instituted by Irba. What the respondent failed to appreciate is that in the event that he does not plead to the charges, Irba is enjoined to proceed with a formal hearing,’ Irba counsel Sam Masombuka told the panel.

‘What is important for the panel to keep in mind is that the respondent has chosen not to participate in the hearing and place (before it) any factors that might mitigate against the imposition of the harshest possible sanction. We respectfully submit that the panel should impose the following sanctions: disqualifying the respondent from registration as a registered auditor on a permanent basis …’

Irba also asked the panel to fine him R300 000 and order him to pay 80% of the costs it has incurred.

The panel is expected to announce its sanction before year end.

Full Business Day report