Markus Jooste with his legal team ahead of a Parliament meeting where he will answer key questions about the #Steinhoff crisis. Mary-Jane Mphahlele. IOL

CAPE TOWN - The former chief executive of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste, has arrived at Parliament for the first time since the Steinhoff scandal broke last year. 

The disgraced former chief executive looked much greyer than in December, when he was last seen publically, according to a reporter at the scene.

Jooste will testify before a number of MPs from Parliament’s standing committee on finance, the standing committee on public accounts and the portfolio committee on public service and administration. 

Scopa reached an agreement with Jooste's lawyers last week for him to appear before Parliament after a subpoena was given. 

Jooste has declined to appear before Parliament on a number of occasions and has given numerous reasons for this. 

The former chief executive's lawyers said at the time that Jooste did not believe he could testify meaningfully as he was no longer with Steinhoff. 

Jooste's lawyers said he was being investigated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority – formerly known as the Financial Services Board –and this was in direct relation to a Hawks criminal investigation, therefore any testimony by Jooste in Parliament may have undermined his 'right to a fair trial'. 

What will he say?

The former chief executive will have to testify over his resignation in early December last year and the mounting accounts that he was responsible for the immense irregularities at Steinhoff. 

It should be noted that Jooste has not spoken to the media since his resignation except for a WhatsApp message he sent to a number colleagues after his resignation was announced. 

In the message, he said that it was time to "move on and take the consequences of my behaviour like a man".

I am not to be blamed!

Last week Steinhoff's former chief financial officer (CFO), Ben la Grange, testified before Parliament. He said that Jooste and Steinhoff's auditors were the main people responsible for the irregularities. 

La Grange told members of parliament that he knew about the fraud at Steinhoff on the weekend of December 2, 2017, when he was given the Deloitte report.

The former CFO said: “I was shocked at what is in the report."

La Grange said that he was surprised by Deloitte's findings and more importantly that the profits were inflated.

The executive went on to tell MPs that he wanted to wait for chief executive  Markus Jooste to comment on the revelations on the report.

At the time Jooste was on a plane back to South Africa and did not show up to an audit committee meeting. Jooste did say that he knew something was wrong.

Not friends

La Grange made it very clear that he was not Jooste's friend and in-fact they did not socialise outside of work, they were strictly colleagues.

“I believe there was limited sharing of information from Jooste to myself,” la Grange said. 

It should be noted that according to la Grange certain relationships between Jooste and other third parties were not disclosed to him or the company.

La Grange said that had he known about transactions that were in fact influenced by Jooste, he would have accounted for the transactions differently.

This is a developing story

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE