Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Here’s a thought: Markus Jooste is innocent. Not in the sense of being above suspicion or beyond reproach, but in the sense of not having been found guilty of breaking the law. The threat facing corporate SA is Jooste may never be found guilty of breaking the law. It’s not that he won’t be hauled to court but that when he eventually gets there his legal team will succeed in demonstrating that, despite thousands of investors losing hundreds of billions of rands and despite billions of rands of assets disappearing in a haze of accounting policies, no laws were broken. For anyone who has tracked the regular updates from the reconstituted Steinhoff board, this prospect may seem as laughable as it is shocking. My initial laughter was followed by shocked silence when first a forensic auditor then a law professor told me the other day there was a reasonable chance Jooste is not guilty. Even the German authorities have so far been unable to charge him. Seven months after December’s announce...

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