There’s little doubt the JSE was going to be damned if it did, damned if it didn’t, but on balance, the unprecedented decision to suspend Tongaat Hulett was probably the right one.

With each passing week, the number of people involved in getting to the bottom of what has transpired at this company grows.It is not just the key decision-makers in the company, it's their advisers, their bankers and the other professionals churning through the accounting debris that was used to create the financial statements that can no longer be relied upon. It is unclear how far back the investigators will have to dig before they reach information they can rely on.In its announcement, the Tongaat board referred to a number of reasons for requesting the suspension including to allow time to complete the forensic investigation and to allow the board time “to complete the strategic review, implement remedial actions and accelerate the turnaround”.This suggests there is no grim, African Bank-type p...

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