PIC suspends legal proceedings against Steinhoff

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The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) says it has suspended legal proceedings against Steinhoff pending the finalisation of a mediation process.

But it has warned that should this fail by the end of the month, it will have no alternative but to take Steinhoff to court to recoup R28 billion of public servants’ pension funds.

PIC officials were back before Parliament to account for the billions of rands of government employee funds lost to Steinhoff.

They told Parliament that they have received legal opinion that they should negotiate a settlement.

PIC head of legal Lindiwe Dlamini says, “To the extent that Steinhoff fails to come to the party, we are simply going to reactivate the litigation. The reason why we embarked on the mediation process was to find an expeditious way to settle this claim that the pic has put to Steinhoff.”

MPs also heard that Steinhoff faces three groups of creditors who are demanding their fair share.

These include bondholders who could sink the company into bankruptcy if they pull the plug.

The second group is those who traded Steinhoff stocks.

And the third, which includes the PIC, is those who bring claims relating to market fraud.

Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) Investment Manager, Fikile Mbokoda says, “We are not happy with the PIC, that is why we have set a bar limit of R2 billion on transactions. Above R2 billion the PIC needs to come and request approval on that.”

The PIC says it is not being sluggish in dealing with the matter saying it is a complex process.

PIC Chairman Reuel Khoza says, “We are actually pursuing that. There is class action which effectively says we work in common purpose with other creditors to Steinhoff. We are not oblivious of the need to actually cooperate internationally.”

The investment corporation says Steinhoff has also refused to hand over the forensic investigation report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that uncovered the rot at Steinhoff.

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