Parliament to order former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste to testify


Steinhoff's former CEO Markus Jooste could be giving testimony about what transpired at the global furniture retailer in a week's time, after Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete on Tuesday evening authorised Parliament's oversight committee on finance to summons him and the group's former CFO Ben la Grange.

The hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 29 August. 

"[The] National Assembly and its committees are empowered to summon not only state organs to account to Parliament, but any private person, institution or regulatory body to provide evidence on any legitimate matter of public interest which falls within the scope of their oversight mandate," said Parliament in a media release on Tuesday afternoon.

It noted that people would be "compelled to comply with the directives of the committee". 

Jooste abruptly resigned from Steinhoff in early December 2017 amid a still-ongoing accounting scandal. The Stellenbosch-headquartered group's share price has plunged by over 95% since he stepped down. 

He has not spoken to the media since quitting the company. He is also being investigated by priority crime investigating unit the Hawks, and may be the subject of a separate German police investigation. 

Parliament said in its statement that the Standing Committee on Finance wants to hear from the two former senior executives about "institutional flaws and challenges existing in [SA's] financial regulatory framework" and other reasons which may have caused the "Steinhoff debacle".

"Therefore, the inquiry is not a criminal investigation establishing criminal liability, nor is it a civil inquiry establishing civil liability of Steinhoff or its employees,' it said. 

Earlier Bloomberg reported that Steinhoff had suspended La Grange, together with and ex-director Stehan Grobler. 

While both La Grange and Grobler stepped down from their roles earlier this year, they remained on short-term consultancy deals, Steinhoff said in an emailed response to Bloomberg questions on Tuesday. 

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