Steinhoff To Cooperate With Officials Over Progress Of Investigation

Retail Holding company Steinhoff has told parliament that it will fully cooperate with officials regarding the progress into investigation of account irregularities.

On Wednesday Parliament issued a statement regarding the ongoing investigation against Steinhoff over account irregularities, saying the retail holding company has confirmed that it will provide more information to Parliament, regarding the progress in their PriceWaterCoopers internal investigations.

This comes after Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba called for regulatory investigations into the Steinhoff International scandal, while the JSE announced a probe into the retailer.

Gigaba demanded that the Financial Services Board, Public Investment Corporation, and the Government Employees Pension Fund to provide him with a report on the extent of exposure for retirement funds.

It’s been reported that the Standing Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration held a joint briefing on the Steinhoff crisis.

The Committees said the progress reports, as well as the role of the regulators and other bodies will be taken into account in shaping the Committees’ joint and respective programmes.

On Wednesday, the Committees welcomed Steinhoff’s decision to open a case against Jooste with the Hawks, but urged them to do the same with other people who are alleged to have committed irregularities.

“The Committees feel that they need to follow up on progress with regard to the cases that were opened with the Hawks. They recognised the elusive and highly complex, technical, global nature of the crisis and the variety of bodies locally and globally that are investigating Steinhoff and, expressed the need for cooperation.”

Last year, saw the revelations of accounting irregularities at Steinhoff which led to the resignation of its Chief Executive Officer, Markus Jooste.

The Committees did not get the sense that the Financial Services Board (FSB), Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) and National Treasury are being decisive enough in pursuing the Steinhoff matter, especially given its gravity and huge implications.

They urged these bodies to be thorough but also swift, and undertake to actively monitor the progress.

“The Committees feel far more needs to be done, decisively and swiftly,” said the committees, adding that the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and Public Investment Corporation (PIC) have to draw clear lessons from their experience of Steinhoff and be more careful about their investment decisions.

In December, Minister Gigaba met with various stakeholders to discuss developments at Steinhoff International.

The Minister has previously called on corporates to maintain a high standard of corporate governance.