By Pinky Khoabane
Disgraced former CEO of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste who seems to have betrayed Chriso Wiese – the man he once looked up to, who mentored him and became business partners. Read the link at the end of this article.
PARLIAMENT will, at the end of January, hold hearings into the Steinhoff’s multi-billion rand corruption scandal which has wiped out billions of rands invested on behalf of South Africans – both rich and poor.
The hearings will be held jointly with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and the Public Service and Administration Portfolio Committee.
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which invests on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, is the third largest shareholder in Steinhoff after Wiese and Deutsche Börse Asset Management.
In the Telegraph last week, one banker was quoted as saying: “I had never seen anything like it, it was like an eBay auction but the bidders were playing with hundreds of millions of pounds.” The banker was referring to Steinhoff’s frenetic rapid-fire bidding war in 2016 for French electronics retailer Darty against rival Fnac.
“At the time it was considered exciting, if not unusual, behaviour for a retail conglomerate. But now that an accounting scandal has left the South African company’s share price and its reputation in tatters many are asking why the warning signs hadn’t been spotted earlier.
For many shareholders it was the case of following the money and blindly believing in the seemingly never-ending successes of two wealthy men: Markus Jooste and Christo Wiese”.
The Democratic Alliance’s attempt to claim credit for the instigation of the commission was rejected by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim: “It’s absolutely not true that the hearings are being held at the request of Mr David Maynier, as he claims.
“Actually, I acted immediately after the issue broke out and decided that the Committee would have to have hearings on this matter well before Mr Maynier wrote to me and rushed to the media. I also received a call from Mr Floyd Shivambu regarding the matter – and Mr Godi had already issued a statement,” Carrim said.
“I wrote to the Financial Services Board (FSB), South African Reserve Bank, Public Investment Corporation, Government Employees Pension Fund, Independent Board for Auditors and JSE informing them about the pending hearings and requesting them to provide us with the scope or terms of reference of the FSB investigation into Steinhoff and the possible timelines for the completion of the investigation,” he said.
The various institutions responded within seven days and their responses were forwarded to Committee members by 22 December 2017, Carrim added. “All Mr Maynier had to do was phone or SMS me to check on progress, and not seek to claim that it’s only the DA component in the Committee that cares about an issue of such national importance that should really cut across petty political party rivalries. Mr Maynier’s political posturing only exacerbates the situation.”