Jooste to be subpoenaed to appear before Parliament after no-show

Former Steinhoff chief financial officer Ben le Grange is to be given 10 days to confirm that he will also appear or he too will be summonsed.

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

CAPE TOWN - The man at the centre of the Steinhoff accounting scandal, former CEO Markus Jooste is to be subpoenaed to appear before Parliament.

Former Steinhoff chief financial officer Ben le Grange is to be given 10 days to confirm that he will also appear or he too will be summonsed.

Both men failed to attend Wednesday’s joint-committee hearing into the suspected fraud that led to the catastrophic collapse of the global retailer’s share price late last year.

In a lawyer’s letter, Jooste claimed his right to a fair trial might be infringed.

The Hawks have, meanwhile, confirmed that they are investigating three matters relating to Steinhoff, which is also the focus of investigations by the Financial Services Board and audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Standing Committee on Public Accounts chairperson Themba Godi summed up Members of Parliament’s displeasure and desire for action over Steinhoff.

He said: “Markus Jooste cannot stand out there and be a sore thumb against everybody else, he’ll have to come before this House and talk to us. He must bring all his lawyers; they’ll assist him in terms of how he can respond to questions but they can’t tell us standing on the other side of the Vaal River that they won’t pitch up here - they must pitch up here.”

PwC director Louis Strydom told the hearing the audit firm has not spoken to Jooste after their request for an interview was agreed to but with conditions PwC found to be unacceptable.

Strydom says PwC expects to conclude its investigation into Steinhoff by the end of the year but cautioned that it is very complex.