SANCO calls for full probe into Steinhoff saga

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BONUS – RUSTENBURG – The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) on Thursday, 7 December 2017, called for a full investigation into the Steinhoff saga describing it as a scandal of unparalleled proportion that has undermined the country’s accounting and investment management systems.

“The loss of over R183 billion is a dire matter that not only requires a relook at measures to fight corruption in the private sector but concrete action to be taken against those responsible,” highlighted SANCO National Spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu.

Mahlangu said that there must be public disclosure of the extent to which the losses have eroded public servants’ pension scheme investments and put jobs of thousands of workers in the retail sector on the line.

He urged the asset forfeiture unit to take a keen interest in recouping losses from business executives, accounting firms and responsible fund managers.

“It must safeguard public sector pension investments as well as the interests of local investors and protect them against capital flight which might arise as a result of the domino effect,” he said.

Steinhoff, which owns Mattress Firm in the US and Poundland in Britain, parted ways with its veteran chief executive Markus Jooste and appointed auditing firm Pricewaters Coopers(PwC) to investigate “accounting irregularities” at the company.

The furnisher retailer lost more than 63% of its stock value on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange after the departure of Jooste.

It has put billionaire Christo Wiese, its largest shareholder and chairman, in charge in an attempt to give “additional comfort” to investors worried about its ability to fund its existing operations, saying it had identified measures that would give it around 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) of additional liquidity.