PARLIAMENT - Former chief executive of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste, on Wednesday insisted he was unaware of any "accounting irregularities" which led to the collapse of the global retailer's share price in December.
Jooste was testifying before four parliamentary committees on the debacle.
"When I left Steinhoff on the 4th of December (2017), I was not aware of any accounting irregularities...," Jooste told MPs.
His version of the events that transpired before the December 2017 crash of the share price was that he had advised Steinhoff's supervisory board to appoint new auditors after Deloitte insisted on an independent investigation into allegations stemming from a tax investigation in Germany.
He said two firms conducted an independent probe and concluded there were no accounting irregularities. He said he shared an opinion that Deloitte had "lost its independence" when it refused to sign off on the company's financials and insisted on a new probe.
"My advice and Dr [Christo]Wiese [former supervisory board chair] agreed with that and that we made announcement that day that the audit has not been completed but that unaudited results will be released by Wednesday, the 6 of December," he said.
"I was clear in my view and others shared that with me that the Deloitte's proposal at that stage in time would have had a devastating effect on the value of the shares. I did not attend the supervisory board meeting the next day and was informed that the next day that the board decided to appoint new auditors to conduct an investigation from scratch."
- African News Agency (ANA)