When Steinhoff chair Heather Sonn told a joint sitting of three parliamentary committees at the end of January that the company had reported former CEO Markus Jooste to the Hawks, a frisson of excitement ran through the parliamentary precinct. At last it seemed corporate SA was intent on moving fast to call one of its own to account. Five months later, it’s difficult not to suspect Sonn was merely hoping to calm the righteous anger of the parliamentarians. The clamour for someone to be held accountable for the R188bn wiped off Steinhoff’s share price since December 6 escalated this week, after the company released horrifying (unaudited) financials for the six months to March. This revealed how €12.8bn had been written off the value of the company’s assets, as well as dramatic restatements of its financials. This time last year, Steinhoff said it clocked up operating profit of €885m for the half-year to March 2017. Now it says it should have reported an operating loss of €168m for th...

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