The resignation of Markus Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of Steinhoff International Holdings NV, and the announcement that “accounting irregularities” would require investigation, may be one of the biggest corporate scandals ever in South Africa.
We therefore welcome the fact that the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV will now be investigated by external and independent institutions, including the Financial Services Board and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa.
However, we are concerned that the auditing firm responsible for signing off the financial statements, which in this case is Deloitte DV in Germany, may have turned a blind eye to accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
I have, therefore, formally requested an investigation into whether Deloitte DV in Germany and/or Deloitte South Africa complied with international audit standards in its audits of Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
Because this matter traverses a number of jurisdictions, I have requested investigations by the following regulators:
- the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Netherlands);
- the Auditor Oversight Body (Germany); and
- the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (South Africa).
We need to be tough on crime in the public sector, and tough on crime in the private sector, and that is why we will ensure that the scandal surrounding accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV, which have wiped out the savings of thousands of pensioners who invested in the company via the Government Employees Pension Fund, are fully investigated in South Africa.