Sunday 22 September 2019

Dealz owner calls police on former chief executive

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Wendell Roelf

The former head of the South African company behind discount retailer Dealz has been reported to a South African police unit over suspected corruption.

Steinhoff has reported former chief executive Markus Jooste to South Africa's elite Hawks anti-corruption unit, the company's acting chairwoman told a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday.

The South African retailer, which has more than 40 brands including Dealz here and Poundland in Britain, revealed accounting irregularities in December, causing an 85pc fall in its share price that wiped more than $10bn (€8bn) off its market value.

It has since been scrambling to sell assets and find short-term funds to avoid parts of its business pulling down the sprawling retail empire which became one of the world's largest household goods retailers.

"Based on our investigations to date, we have reported the former CEO Markus Jooste to the Hawks ... The matter is now in the hands of the Hawks for investigation and prosecution," Steinhoff's acting chairwoman Heather Sonn told the committee, citing the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Practices Act.

Mr Jooste, who oversaw the company's rapid expansion over almost two decades, resigned on December 5 as the accounting scandal broke and has not made a public statement since. (Reuters)

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