Jooste lawyers delay parliamentary questioning over Steinhoff scandal
Disgraced racehorse owner Markus Jooste was subpoenaed to explain himself before the South African parliament on Wednesday and succeeded in getting his appearance put off for a further seven days and – controversially – limiting the scope of the questions he will face.
His lawyers successfully argued in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday that Jooste need not appear before the various parliamentary committees until Wednesday, when he will be questioned and give evidence under oath “to identify any institutional flaws and challenges existing in the relevant financial regulatory framework, or any implementation challenges therein, which might have caused or given rise to the collapse of the value of Steinhoff shares.”
He had been expected to be grilled on the part he played in one of the biggest scandals in South African financial history, and the sharply modified scope of the questioning was too much for the Democratic Alliance party’s finance spokesman David Maynier.
He said: “It’s rather like asking King Herod to assist in identifying flaws and challenges in the regulation of childcare facilities!”
Jooste, leading owner in South Africa for ten years in succession when he resigned as Steinhoff chief executive in December, has now sold all but a small number of his horses in his native country but is understood to be still a partner in some at Ballydoyle.
The Steinhoff saga, and Jooste’s part in it, has been chronicled in a book Steinhoff: Inside SA’s Biggest Corporate Crash. Author James-Brent Styan delves into the company’s complex financial structure and reveals how Steinhoff expanded rapidly across the globe, often paying over the odds for its many acquisitions and showing the amounts overpaid in the company’s balance sheet as Goodwill.
Many pension funds invested heavily in Steinhoff shares, including those of the government employees’ pension fund, only to see their investments virtually wiped out when the crash came.
If you are interested in this, you should read: Owner Jooste to face parliamentary questioning over corruption allegations