Steinhoff forensic report will help move case forward, says NPA's Batohi

The forensic report is being compiled by PWC, the same accounting firm that was appointed by Steinhoff’s new board to find out what went wrong at the company.

Steinhoff's offices in Stellenbosch. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shamila Batohi said that a forensic report due at the end of the month would help to move the investigation into the Steinhoff scandal forward.

Serious allegations of accounting fraud that surfaced in December 2017 saw the global furniture retailer’s share price plummet, hurting investors.

The Hawks have, meanwhile, taken 220 statements and affidavits in their Steinhoff investigation and expect that further witnesses would be revealed by the forensic report.

READ: 'No conflict of interest': Steinhoff funds NPA’s probe into its auditing scandal

This emerged at a meeting of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday, where MPs were updated on the progress of a number of investigations involving the NPA, the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

The forensic report is being compiled by PWC, the same accounting firm that was appointed by Steinhoff’s new board to find out what went wrong at the company.

READ MORE: Ex-Steinhoff CEO Jooste charged in Germany over accounting violations - report

Hawks head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, said that the original PWC report dealt mostly with accounting issues and did not look at criminality. PWC was appointed to investigate further, as it was decided that little could be gained by starting afresh - and there would be no cost to the state.

"We were expecting that it (the report) should have been finalised by the end of November last year, but with regards to COVID-19, the entity (PWC) indicated that they are able to finalise (it) on the 31st of March, which is the end of this month."

National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, has told Scopa that the report would give the long drawn-out investigation a much-needed boost, especially when it came to the activities of the asset forfeiture unit.

"The report, which is coming at the end of this month, will make a huge difference in terms of moving this case forward."

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