Statement released by the four standing committees on the Steinhoff Matter
“The Standing Committees on Finance; the Standing Committee on Public Accounts; the Portfolio Committee on Public Administration and the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry have received a letter from Mr Markus Jooste’s lawyer, explaining why he will not appear before the committees’ briefing on Steinhoff tomorrow (letter attached).
The committees will, in consultation with the Parliament’s Legal Service Unit, decide tomorrow whether to subpoena Mr Jooste and will inform the Speaker’s Office of their decision.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSONS, MR YUNUS CARRIM, MR THEMBA GODI, MS JOAN FUBBS AND MS MINAH LESOMA”
The letter from the disgraced former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste reads:
Dear Mr Carrim
Re: REQUEST FOR MR MARKUS JOOSTE TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COMMITTEES ON THE STEINHOFF MATTER
1. Your letter dated 1 March 2018 has reference.
2. As you suggested, I met with Adv Jenkins, accompanied by senior counsel, on Thursday, 20 March 2018. I have since had the opportunity to discuss the matter with Mr Jooste (“our client”) and to take instructions.
3. In the result, and having again given careful consideration to the invitation to attend the briefing on Steinhoff, our client has decided to respectfully decline your invitation to appear before the three committees. He has done so for, inter alia, the reasons which follow.
4. Our client points out that he resigned his position as CEO of Steinhoff with effect from 6 December 2017 and is not in a position meaningfully to assist the committees.
5. In addition, the Financial Services Board (“FSB”) is currently in the process of investigating the Steinhoff matter. The FSB has summonsed our client in terms of the Financial Markets Act, no 19 of 2012, to be interrogated on a wide range of issues pertaining to Steinhoff.
6. Furthermore, as has been widely reported in the media, various criminal complaints were lodged with the South African Police Service against our client with regard to the Steinhoff matter. As you correctly state in your letter under reply, the Hawks have indicated that they are investigating criminal complaints against our client. All indications are that our client will probably be prosecuted with regard to the Steinhoff matter.
7. Appearing before the committees to be questioned on Steinhoff will, in these circumstances, undermine our client’s right to a fair trial guaranteed in section 35(3) of the Constitution.
DE KLERK & VAN GEND INC PER: CA ALBERTYN
(Letter transmitted electronically. A signed version shall be provided upon request.)