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MPs order Hawks, NPA to speed up Steinhoff probe

Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim on Wednesday told former CEO Markus Jooste he was portraying himself as the 'Mother Theresa' of Steinhoff.

Former Steinhoff chief executive officer Markus Jooste is appearing at Parliament to answer questions from a joint sitting of the finance and other committees on 5 September 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s Finance Committee has called on regulators and the Hawks to move more speedily on the Steinhoff corporate scandal.

Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim on Wednesday told former CEO Markus Jooste that he was portraying himself as the “Mother Theresa” of Steinhoff.

Jooste’s insisted he was unaware of any suspected fraud when he left the company last December.

WATCH: Crucial moments in Jooste's parliamentary questions

He gave his side of the story at Parliament on Wednesday, his first public appearance in months.

Carrim says while the Steinhoff matter is complex, it is a case of national importance because of the billions lost in workers’ pension funds. He says regulators and the Hawks need to get a move on.

“Surely there’s enough available to you 10 months after this crisis broke out? And I’m addressing the regulators here, the Hawks and NPA, for you to act against those who’ve done wrong, whoever they are.”

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi says Parliament has now heard three versions of events.

Former board chairperson Christo Wiese says the crisis came as “a bolt from the blue”.

Ex-CFO Ben la Grange believes Jooste withheld information from him and Jooste himself claims he was unaware of any “accounting irregularities” before he quit.

“And I’m saying, that as Parliament, if we have these three versions, we, therefore, can’t say well we’ve heard you… it’s okay let it pass.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)