AmaBhungane and Financial Mail have won their court application to gain access to Steinhoff’s report on alleged corruption that saw the company’s share price dropping by over 90 percent in 2017. The Western Cape High Court dismissed Steinhoff’s argument that some of the information in the report is confidential.
The Steinhoff saga began after CEO Markus Jooste’s sudden resignation in 2017 following what the company called ‘accounting irregularities’. It later came out that these so-called accounting irregularities included R106 billion that was funnelled through the company’s accounts. AmaBhungane’s Co-Managing Partner, Sam Sole says it may be some time before they actually see the report as they expect Steinhoff to appeal.
“We went to court to challenge that claim of legal privilege and basically saying that the document was not predominantly prepared in contemplation of litigation, they interposed their lawyers between themselves and PWC to create this barrier which will allow them to claim legal privilege. That’s essentially what the judge found that they didn’t put evidence that there was real serious contemplation of litigation and this is the reason why the report was commissioned and therefore ordered to provide us with the report. Unfortunately we expect that they will appeal, so it might be some time before we actually see the report,” says Sole.