Steinhoff board members will not get away with pointing a finger at the group's management to avoid prosecution for alleged fraud if they failed to know what they should have known regarding the company's accounts. The kind of knowledge required in the Companies Act is very wide. If one foresaw the possibility that Steinhoff's statements were false and did not act, that would be enough. "I expect a lot of people are going to go to prison for this," said James Grant, a practising advocate and visiting associate professor at Wits University. "There can be no doubt that someone at Steinhoff must have known that the financials were false and that by presenting those financials, others were acting to their prejudice. The moment that is true, that person commits fraud."Markus Jooste, known as a charismatic, powerful CEO, appeared to take the fall for his "mistakes" when he resigned, saying in a letter to staff other executives had played no part in his errors. Although the management and ...

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