The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) continues to defend its decision to accept R30 million from Steinhoff, which is meant to fund its probe into the multibillion rand corruption scandal which nearly collapsed the retail giant.

Financial Mail had reported on Friday, 5 March 2021, that Steinhoff had agreed to give the NPA and the Hawks money to help fund an investigation, in which its considered an implicated party.

In December 2017, the company’s then CEO Markus Jooste resigned, in the midst of allegations of so-called ‘accounting irregularities’ – one of the biggest corporate scandals to ever rock South Africa.

Steinhoff footing the bill for NPA probe into “accounting irregularilities”

Steinhoff’s share price immediately plunged by 66% and went on to fall by over 90% as it emerged that the company had overstated profits and assets by nearly $12 billion. Steinhoff said it would be working with the authorities in the extensive investigation.

Speaking to SABC News, the NPA’s Sipho Ngwema insists Steinhoff footing the bill for the probe digging deeper into the scandal, is not a conflict of interest.

“People need to understand that first of all, that this is a new board that instituted the investigation against directors that have left. So, if you understand this, the people involved in those activities are gone. The new board have also become complainants. They’ve given to the police and laid a criminal charge. They are paying for that. There is no money flowing into the government,” Ngwema said.

Auditing group PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) is sifting through more than three million records of evidence including emails and contents of laptops and mobile phones. The NPA said Steinhoff was particularly paying PricewaterhouseCoopers and emphasised that the implicated individuals have already left the company, so there were no concerns over interference.

“They are paying for that there is no money flowing from the government. They are paying for the services that happen all the time. You would have seen in many cases were people were witnesses in murder cases, for example, and then they end up being suspects and they get arrested, but they would have assisted. There’s assistance here that is given. All I’m saying is that someone pays for the forensic report and in this particular case the people are not suspects, its new people; it’s a new board. The people that are implicated left the company.

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Presh JM Reporter

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