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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Owner Jooste to face parliamentary questioning over corruption allegations

Markus Jooste: owner wanted before South African parliament
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Embattled racehorse owner Markus Jooste is to be subpoenaed to appear before the South African parliament after refusing to show up and be questioned.

The former chief executive of Steinhoff, owner of high street chain Poundland, is also being investigated by the Hawks, the South African police body which targets organised and economic crime as well as corruption.

Jooste, who resigned from Steinhoff in December due to a massive accounting scandal, was requested to appear before the parliamentary committees of finance, public accounts, public administration, and trade and industry on Wednesday but failed to show up.

His lawyers argued his appearance could undermine his right to a fair trial and that he was not “in a position meaningfully to assist the committees".

They also said he had been summoned to appear before the Financial Services Board and would be interrogated on matters relating to the scandal around Steinhoff and the resultant collapse in the share price affecting huge numbers of public service pensions.

Yunus Carrim, chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, described the lawyers’ arguments  as “lame" and added: “It is precisely Mr Jooste that has most to account for in the collapse of Steinhoff shares and its implications for a wide range of people in our country and elsewhere in the world.”

Numbers dwindling 

There are still some horses running in Jooste’s name and colours in South Africa where he has been the leading owner for the last ten seasons.

But the numbers are dwindling as sales continue apace. At a special sale at Kenilworth racecourse a week ago 19 were sold for R2,685,000 (approximately £161,000), many for only a fraction of what they cost as yearlings.

Among them was Silver Coin, who made a record R6 million as a yearling and went for only a twentieth of that figure.

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It is precisely Mr Jooste that has most to account for in the collapse of Steinhoff shares
E.W. Terms
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