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MPs seek answers from Steinhoff over accounting irregularities

Members of Steinhoff’s supervisory board and top management are expected to attend a joint meeting of three parliamentary committees on Wednesday.

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

CAPE TOWN - Members of Steinhoff’s supervisory board and top management are expected to attend a joint meeting of three parliamentary committees on Wednesday.

The meeting is aimed at finding out what led to the collapse of the company’s share price and details of investigations that are under way in South Africa and abroad.

Parliament’s Standing Committees on Finance and Public Accounts and the Public Service and Administration oversight committee are to be briefed by Steinhoff representatives and other entities, including the Public Investment Corporation.

Standing Committee on Finance chairperson Yunus Carrim says that today’s meeting is a briefing and not an inquiry, but he says that MPs will be looking for answers about what happened at Steinhoff and the steps taken by regulatory bodies and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to investigate.

"Heather Sonn, the chairperson of the current board, and other senior board members – the new board supervisory structure, I think it is called - and senior members of the new management. Markus Jooste has written via his lawyer to say he is not attending."

Carrim says it’s not the committees’ intention to supplant the role of the Financial Services Board, the South African Reserve Bank, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and other bodies with the legal mandate to investigate, and which have the forensic, technical and other capacity to do so.

Steinhoff is under investigation in South Africa and abroad. It has postponed releasing its 2017 results that were due today after admitting to so-called accounting irregularities that led to its share price collapsing last month.