Jooste: Steinhoff's R850m claim 'vague and embarrassing'

Steinhoff's former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste sees the retailer’s claim for more than R850m against him as "vague and embarrassing".

The owner of Poundland in the UK and Pep stores throughout Africa said in June it will look to claw back base salaries, bonuses and other incentives paid to Jooste since 2009 because of his role in the accounting crisis that triggered the retailer’s near-collapse.

Jooste’s planned exception to Steinhoff’s claim includes the assertion that the company failed to provide enough detail of his employment contract in the lawsuit, including whether certain elements were made orally or in writing, according to legal papers filed to the High Court in Cape Town. The filing gives Steinhoff two weeks to "remove the identified causes of complaint".

Steinhoff’s shares have collapsed by 97% since the crisis erupted in late 2017 and the company is itself facing a string of lawsuits, which Chief Executive Officer Louis du Preez on Tuesday said the company would prefer to settle as quickly as possible.

Steinhoff has claimed that payments to Jooste were dependent on "the sound and successful financial performance" of the retailer and, had the company been aware of all the facts, the remuneration committee would not have recommended any payment.

Jooste is arguing that these were not "express terms" of his employment contract. Moreover, he’s objected to Steinhoff not explaining how any fictitious deals or accounting irregularities resulted in a loss to the company, rather than its shareholders.

In at least one lawsuit against the company, where Steinhoff added Jooste as a third party, the ex-CEO has argued that he needs access to a full forensic report compiled by PwC. Steinhoff, who commissioned the report, has refused, according to separate court papers. Du Preez said Tuesday that the report needs to be kept confidential for Steinhoff’s own legal cases.

Late on Tuesday, Steinhoff got some space to focus on the lawsuits as it reached an agreement with creditors where it doesn’t have to pay principal and interest on about € 9bn euros of debt until December 2021.

ZAR/USD
17.62
(-1.25)
ZAR/GBP
23.01
(-0.54)
ZAR/EUR
20.78
(-0.41)
ZAR/AUD
12.62
(-0.16)
ZAR/JPY
0.17
(-0.83)
Gold
2031.70
(-1.76)
Silver
28.22
(-5.12)
Platinum
963.00
(-3.55)
Brent Crude
45.10
(-0.18)
Palladium
2177.00
(-2.22)
All Share
56757.73
(-1.56)
Top 40
52435.65
(-1.72)
Financial 15
9897.96
(+0.10)
Industrial 25
74671.49
(-1.98)
Resource 10
58948.78
(-1.89)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 926 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
74% - 6217 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
15% - 1278 votes
Vote