Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. File Image: IOL
JOHANNESBURG - Former Steinhoff CEO and shareholder Markus Jooste has been reported to the Hawks, Parliament was told on Wednesday, by acting chairperson Heather Sonn.

He was reported for suspected offences under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Practices Act. According to reports, he was reported on Tuesday by Steinhoff’s audit committee, Steve Booysen.

Steinhoff‘s commercial director said the situation remains “very delicate” and discussions with various lender groupings, both local and international, are continuing.

Steinhoff‘s commercial director further said that South African businesses are self-funding and do not have any liquidity constraints.

“We don‘t know at this stage if the crisis could have been prevented," Sonn said.

"Based on our investigation to date, we have reported the former CEO Markus Jooste to the Hawks in terms of section 31 (b) of the Precca [Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act] on suspicion he has committed offences," said Steinhoff acting chairwoman Heather Sonn while briefing three parliamentary committees.

"The matter is now under the Hawks for further investigation and prosecution."

Sonn said while she was constrained in what she could tell MPs on the "accounting irregularities" that caused the company's share price to crash, she and other board members were committed to comply with regulatory authorities.

"We are deeply aware of the impact this has had on investments, pension funds, on reputation of company.on business in South Africa generally and on our nation," said Sonn.

"Our commitment is we will uncover the truth...we will fix what went wrong. We will prosecute wrongdoing."



Additionally, the South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) said on Wednesday its shareholding in Steinhoff depreciated from R24.1 billion ($2 billion) on November 30 to R1.8 billion by December 31 in the wake an accounting scandal at the retail group.

GEPF made the remarks in a presentation handed in to a joint committee meeting at parliament, where a preliminary hearing on Steinhoff was being held.

Steinhoff, owner of more than 40 retail brands including Poundland in Britain, has admitted “accounting irregularities”, triggering an 85 percent share slide.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE