20 March 2019

South Africa: Top Eight Culprits in Biggest Corporate Fraud Named, Including Jooste and La Grange - Hawks Still Badly Behind

analysis

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste and former CFO Ben la Grange, who had told MPs they knew nothing of accounting irregularities that led to the company's share value collapsing, are named in the PwC forensic audit among eight individuals implicated in fictitious and irregular transactions of over €6-billion.

On Tuesday, Steinhoff insisted on confidentiality, privacy and privilege. That it got there is a blow for transparency as probes into what's seen as the biggest corporate fraud are underway in South Africa, Germany and The Netherlands.

In early September 2018, former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste told MPs: "When I left Steinhoff on the 4th of December (2017), I was not aware of any accounting irregularities," adding that it was "sad" that colleagues and people had lost money. Lawyered up and sticking to the I-didn't-know script, Jooste blamed others.

At the end of August 2018 ex-chief financial officer, Ben la Grange had begun his appearance before the same four parliamentary committees, sitting together - finance, public service and administration, trade and industry and public spending watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) - by saying:

"I do not think I did anything wrong", adding that he was "deeply saddened by events...

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