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Markus Jooste must be prosecuted for role in Steinhoff scandal, say MPs

Members of Parliament want Jooste prosecuted for his role in the country’s biggest corporate scandal to date and for him and his associates to be jailed as soon as possible.

FILE: Former Steinhoff chief executive officer Markus Jooste appears 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 - Four parliamentary committees have slammed Steinhoff’s disgraced former CEO Markus Jooste for failing to cooperate with the forensic probe into financial irregularities at the company and say they are appalled that he is still a free man.

Members of Parliament want Jooste prosecuted for his role in the country’s biggest corporate scandal to date and for him and his associates to be jailed as soon as possible.

Steinhoff was on Tuesday, under threat of subpoena, forced to reveal the names of eight people implicated by PwC at a meeting of Parliament’s Finance, Public Accounts, Trade and Industry and Public Service and Administration committees.

The names include that of Markus Jooste, three other former Steinhoff executives and four individuals not part of Steinhoff but linked to companies allegedly involved in making the retail giant look richer and more profitable than it really was over many years.

But while MPs want Jooste and his associates behind bars, the lack of progress by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority is causing frustration. Finance committee chairperson Yunus Carrim says Jooste is a free man living in Hermanus.

“There he is, walking up and down. We get accosted in the corridors and everywhere with people asking, ‘What’s happening?’ As if we’re the police.”

The Hawks and the NPA have been instructed to report progress to the four committee chairpersons every Friday up until the eve of the 8 May elections when the current term of Parliament lapses.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)