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Scopa wants Steinhoff execs to account to Parliament

Dec 11 2017 20:11
Jan Cronje

Cape Town - Parliament's oversight committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Monday announced it intends to call the executives of global retailer Steinhoff before Parliament "early in the new year".

"South Africa’s reputation is in the gutter because of political and corporate corruption, Scopa said in a media release. "All progressive and patriotic South Africans must put a stop to these acts."

Parliament is currently on its holiday recess.

The first 2018 parliamentary term is scheduled to start on January 23, with Parliament's first plenary sitting set for February 8. 

Scopa said that the "crass greediness of senior executives in the private sector is an indicator of the pervasiveness of immoral conduct among South Africa’s elite".

"Parliament cannot be a spectator in this unfolding drama, as the laws of the country, ethical conduct and workers’ pensions go down the drain because of the recklessness and corruption of the super-rich."

READ: Markus Jooste: High life, big fall

Shares in the Stellenbosch-headquartered company Steinhoff have fallen by 83% since Wednesday morning, when it announced its CEO Markus Jooste was stepping down “with immediate effect” and PricewaterhouseCoopers had been retained to conduct an independent investigation into "accounting irregularities requiring further investigation”. 

Steinhoff, which is registered in the Netherlands, has not yet given an update on what the accounting irregularities entail. 

The multinational company has 12 000 stores in more than 30 countries, employing over 130 000 staff. In South Africa some of its well-known brands include Ackermans, Pep, Tekkie Town, Russells and HiFi Corp.

Condemnation 

Scopa's chairperson Themba Godi said he he would like to see National Treasury being "more strident in its condemnation of the scandal than it has been thus far".

He also called on the SA Revenue Service, the South African Reserve Bank, the Independent Regulatory Body for Auditors and the Financial Services Board (FSB) to urgently investigate Steinhoff. 

The FSB has already started an investigating into Steinhoff, as has the Johannesburg Stock Exchange

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