Committees Meets with Former Steinhoff CEO, Mr Markus Jooste

Parliament� The Standing Committees on Finance; the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa); the Portfolio Committees on Trade and Industry and; the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration met with the former Chief Executive Officer of Steinhoff, Mr Markus Jooste.

Today’s meeting is the fourth meeting held this year by the committees on the Steinhoff matter.

Mr Jooste’s overall statement and responses to questions made out that he was not aware of any financial irregularities, has done no wrong and cannot be held personally responsible for the collapse of Steinhoff shares.

The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Mr Yunus Carrim, said the committees felt that Mr Jooste could have been far more forthcoming and answered

questions more precisely without incriminating himself or undermining his right to a fair trial in a court of law or a fair inquiry by a regulatory body. He said that, in a way, by not being open, Mr Jooste suggested he has much to hide.

His account to Parliament reinforces our call that the regulatory bodies and other state agencies should act swiftly and more decisively to deal with those who did wrong at Steinhoff, said Mr Carrim.

Mr Carrim said they recognised the complex and global nature of corporate scandals such as Steinhoff’s and the huge amount of forensic and other investigative work necessary to establish exactly what happened and who is responsible for precisely what failure, but surely there should be more progress, 10 months after the collapse of the Steinhoff shares.

More can and needs to be done, said Mr Carrim.

Mr Carrim said they also believe there needs to be far more concerted cooperation between the relevant state agencies in our country and Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere.

The committees’ particular concern remains the poor performance of the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority, and strongly believe that they need more forensic, auditing and other technical skills to effectively fulfil their responsibilities in regard to Steinhoff.

While there is considerable focus on public sector corruption at present, the private sector usually goes scot-free. We need to decisively deal with private sector corruption. After all, in most cases of public sector corruption there is a private sector hand at work, said Mr Carrim.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa