Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago says it took longer to seize the assets of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste because the case was complex and investigations involved multiple jurisdictions.
The Governor briefed the media this week during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Cape Town.
It took five years before law enforcement agencies and the Reserve Bank could seize assets belonging to Jooste and two of his associates.
The assets, estimated at R1.4 billion, include a house, wine farm and other possessions held in a trust. The matter is linked to a case of an alleged contravention of the exchange control regulations against Jooste.
He is also linked to the collapse of Steinhof due to alleged accounting irregularities.
Kganyago says after extensive investigations, they found more evidence of a breach of regulations.
They also found evidence deemed to be criminal and shared information with the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Revenue Service.
“We have spent quite a lot of money on it and it’s ticking to get to the bottom of it and sometimes when I hear you’re taking long, it’s because it’s so complex; we had to understand it. It involves an army of lawyers and auditors, but there were two other officials of Steinhoff whose assets were frozen last year. One of them is a review in the courts and we expect to spend a lot of time in the courts. These are people with pockets that are now particularly shallow.”
Reacting to the matter, Chartered Accountant and Political Commentator Khaya Sithole, says attaching Jooste’s assets was long overdue: