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BLSA gravely concerned by corruption claims at Steinhoff, MultiChoice

BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale says the allegations are serious and it condemns any unethical behaviour.

FILE: Business Leadership South Africa CEO Bonang Mohale speaking at the Lead SA Changemakers Conference in Johannesburg. Picture: @lead_sa/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) says that it is gutted, devastated and gravely concerned following corruption allegations involving both Steinhoff and MultiChoice.

BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale says that the allegations are serious and it condemns any unethical behaviour.

“We can confirm we have we’ve initiated conversations with MultiChoice and their parent company Naspers regarding these allegations as reported in the media. We believe due process must be followed to get to the bottom of these allegations.”

The Democratic Alliance revealed last week that minutes of an SABC board meeting show that MultiChoice sought to pay the public broadcaster R100 million for its 24-hour news channel in exchange for its political influence over digital migration.

The party says this also supports allegations that MultiChoice paid former Gupta-owned ANN7 millions of rand in exchange for similar influence over government's position on set-top boxes.

Meanwhile, German prosecutors in the city of Oldenburg say that a criminal team is continuing to examine documents seized in their investigation into Steinhoff, saying they are concentrating on alleged overstated revenues at various subsidiaries.

About R183 billion of value was wiped off the JSE following allegations of financial irregularities at the furniture retailer.

The company lost over 63% on the JSE on Wednesday.

Steinhoff International is listed on the JSE and in Germany with the fallout continuing following the resignation of CEO Markus Jooste.

Portfolio manager at Ashburton Investments Wayne McCurry says: “If it was just a case of incorrect interpretation of a few accounting things and maybe there was a small settlement that had to be paid because things were incorrectly classified, then there’s no way the CEO and CFO would have resigned.”

German prosecutors say four current and former managers are under investigation.

There are concerns that the group's total assets may have been overstated, with the release of the company's full year results now suspended.

The share prices of a number of subsidiaries and related companies have been affected.

Additional reporting by Gia Nicolaides.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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