Steinhoff latest: Is the net finally closing in on Markus Jooste?
Could the long wait to secure a prosecution in the Steinhoff case soon be over? Reports suggest that a 'major announcement' about Markus Jooste is imminent.
The rogue Steinhoff CEO accused of manipulated the true value of the company’s profits could finally face justice at some point in the next few months: Markus Jooste, who has a raft of allegations stacked up against him, has so far avoided arrest for his role in the corporate implosion of 2017 – and the thorny issue caused a ruckus in Parliament on Wednesday.
Will Markus Jooste be arrested for Steinhoff collapse?
During a fractious National Assembly sitting, the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to explain why the NPA has refused or delayed charging Markus Jooste with insider trading, fraud and corruption.
The combative EFF member accused the crime-fighting agency of letting Steinhoff’s top brass off the hook ‘for being white’ – but the minister has vehemently denied this, claiming the investigation is going ahead ‘without fear or favour’.
“The NPA is dealing with this matter without any fear, prejudice, or any favour to anyone. It is also dealing with it without looking at the colour of the person who is involved as per the mandate of the NPA and they are prioritising the matter as I have said that it is being handled in a manner that all matters go through.”
“We mustn’t lie, this kind of investigation can be done within a day. Any type of investigation takes many years to be completed. In this matter, justice is going to prevail. The case is not informed by the colour, orientation, or political views of any individual. It is a forensic investigation into thousands of foreign and local transactions.”
Breakthroughs expected ‘imminently’
The minister’s remarks come amid reports that German prosecutors are on the verge of making an announcement in relation to their multi-year probe into accounting fraud at Steinhoff this week. the NPA and the Hawks are jointly conducting a separate probe to get to the bottom of CEO Markus Jooste’s abrupt resignation in 2017.
Representatives for Steinhoff, meanwhile, claim that Hawks had asked if the company could fund the state’s probe… into their own financial dealings. The accusations were made in Business Day, raising an enormous conflict of interest.
However, Lamola has given no credence to these claims. According to the senior ANC figure, once investigations are finalised, the suspects will THEN be charged with all counts the State intends to bring forward. A trial date will subsequently be set down, finally bringing this matter to court. However, these things tend to move at a glacial pace.