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JSE launches probe into Steinhoff disclosures

Steinhoff is in the middle of an accounting scandal that has wiped off more billions of dollars off its market value.

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. Picture: Gallo Images/Financial Mail/Jeremy Glyn

JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg Stock Exchange Ltd (JSE) has launched an investigation into whether embattled retailer Steinhoff broke its disclosure rules, it said on Monday.

Steinhoff is in the middle of an accounting scandal that has wiped off more billions of dollars off its market value.

Meanwhile, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration has called on the regulatory authorities to investigate the Steinhoff scandal to allay fears among those who've been affected.

Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste stepped down last week amid allegations of accounting irregularities at the global furniture retailer.

Since then, Steinhoff has lost about 90% of its stock value on the JSE.

This has affected the pension savings of thousands of public servants.

The public service committee's chairman Cassel Mathale says government must take an interest to understand what really happened.

“Despite the fact that we’re not going to put an investigation but because it is a constituency that we work with, we should make an appeal to those in government who are responsible for financial matters, and the PIC [Public Investment Corporation] in particular, to look at this because it involves them.”

At the same time, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) met with the PIC on Monday over the Steinhoff meltdown to find ways to salvage workers’ pensions managed by the corporation.

Public servants have once again been assured that their pension fund investments are safe.

But Fedusa's Dennis George says more needs to be done to investigate Steinhoff.

“The PIC and Fedusa have also agreed they must take further steps, for instance, to look at the activities of the board and the situation of how is it possible that the CEO resigned but the CFO did not resign.”

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