With the possible exception of chair Heather Sonn, nobody emerges from Steinhoff’s 2017 annual report with an enhanced reputation. And it’s not just individuals. The reputations of institutions and systems have also been sullied by the remarkable events at Steinhoff. Once the world’s second-largest furniture retailer, Steinhoff has — presumably inadvertently — proven to be the ultimate iconoclast. It has driven a coach and horses through the notion that paying eye-watering amounts of money to auditors means you can trust results that have been audited; it has made a mockery of the much-touted benefits of the King Code; it has made the role of the independent director laughable and it has raised questions about the astuteness of one of the country’s most highly regarded businessmen. And as the company and regulatory authorities in SA and Europe struggle to call former CEO Markus Jooste and his handful of alleged accomplices to account, Steinhoff will make a mockery of the notion of ...

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