Jooste’s passing has no impact on Steinhoff investigation: FSCA

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) says that the passing of Markus Jooste does not have an impact on its ongoing investigation relating to Steinhoff.

It has vowed to continue to assist the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority with any investigations they may have under way.

Former CEO of Steinhoff Markus Jooste died by suicide on Thursday after the FSCA fined him R475 million for publishing false, misleading and deceptive information.

Disgraced Jooste has maintained his innocence throughout one of the biggest financial scandals. This despite admitting penning a message to his colleagues regretting some of his decisions as the CEO that have caused immense pain to innocent people.

He believed that the collapse in the Steinhoff share price could have been avoided if the board allowed him to fire Deloitte and replace it with a new auditing company that was willing to sign-off the financial results. Till his death, Jooste blamed Austrian businessman Andreas Seifert for causing all the troubles.

Seifert entered a business partnership with Steinhoff in 2007. And he was instrumental in exposing some irregularities to the German tax authorities. Economists have called on the PWC report that was completed five years ago regarding activities at Steinhoff to be released for public scrutiny.

The PWC investigation found that Steinhoff had overstated profits over several years amounting to 5. 6 billion pounds between the period 2009 to 2017.

“We still do not know what happened at Steinhoff, there was a very expensive PWC report it ran into 3 000 pages therefore it is now time for the report so that we can have more insight to what happened at Steinhoff,” says Professor Jannie Rassouw from Wits Business School.

The Black Business Council says law enforcement agencies moved very slowly to deal with the Steinhoff matter since 2017. And that the PWC report should be utilised to ensure that this kind of saga where pensioners lost their hard-earned cash does not happen again.

“The country and Germany will never get to the bottom of this scandal and there are no prospects that pension fund money lost will be recovered and it also perpetuates the suspicion that when you have money, law enforcement agencies treat you carefully,” says Kganki Matabane from Black Business Council.

Former Steinhoff legal head Stephen Grobler appeared in the Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court today in connection with the Steinhoff saga.

The FSCA says it is legally entitled to recover the penalty imposed on Jooste from his estate and that it is continuing with other investigations into similar contraventions.

Video: Business reacts to death of former Steinhoff CEO