A new legal claim against retail giant Pepkor has raised fresh questions about whether its board cut corners in its rush to bail out its parent, Steinhoff, last year. Steinhoff owns 71% of Pepkor, which until last year was known as Steinhoff Africa Retail (Star) and included major African brands such as Pep and Ackermans. But after Steinhoff’s collapse in December 2017 — when CEO Markus Jooste resigned and the company revealed that PwC would conduct a forensic investigation of "accounting irregularities" — Pepkor became much the stronger of the two companies. In fact, one of the main reasons that Steinhoff still exists in more or less the same form since its implosion is that Star was quickly able to repay an enormous loan, R16bn, which it owed its parent. Now, papers filed last week in the Western Cape High Court by Bernard Mostert, the former CEO of Tekkie Town, have raised new questions about how transparent Pepkor executives were about the repayment of that loan. In October 2016...

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