Steinhoff International's [JSE:SNH] former chief financial officer Ben la Grange could be legally ordered to appear before a parliamentary committee after declining to attend a scheduled hearing next week.
The severity of Steinhoff’s accounting crisis and subsequent impact on public-sector pension funds requires La Grange to be held to account, the finance committee said in a statement on Tuesday.
It has requested the Speaker’s office to issue a subpoena immediately for the former CFO to answer questions at a parliamentary briefing on August 29.
La Grange worked under Steinhoff ex-chief executive officer Markus Jooste, who quit when Steinhoff reported accounting irregularities that triggered a share price collapse in December.
The ex-CFO stepped down the following month, but has remained an employee at the owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US to help repair the company’s finances.
La Grange previous gave an undertaking to appear before the committee in a “spirit of cooperation and transparency”.
DA Shadow Minister of Finance David Maynier said La Grange's U-turn creates the impression that the former Steinhoff CFO "has got cold feet and is trying his best to dodge a grilling on his role in what may turn out to be the biggest corporate scandal in the history of South Africa".* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER