Markus Jooste: A CA (SA) who was at Steinhoff’s helm. Picture: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander
Markus Jooste: A CA (SA) who was at Steinhoff’s helm. Picture: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

It may be two years late, but it’s still a victory for accountability that the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) has slapped former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste with four charges, which could lead to him being stripped of his right to use the CA (SA) designation.

Uncharacteristically, the institute doesn’t mince its words, accusing Jooste of conducting himself in a way that is "dishonourable" and "dishonest". The charges relate to specific issues — including insider trading, where he tipped off four friends to sell their shares days before Steinhoff imploded, and for making "material misrepresentations" to Steinhoff’s audit committee, and to parliament, around the "accounting irregularities" uncovered at the retailer in 2017.

Jooste has 21 days to respond, and if his previous combative stance is any indication, he’ll presumably fight these charges. That would be risky, because Saica will hold a full public inquiry, in which Jooste will have to answer to the claims. Though he did appear in parliament in September 2018, he mostly weaseled out of questions. But Saica’s disciplinary committee will be better equipped than SA’s parliamentarians.

But if Saica has finally acted, where, you ask, are the Hawks, which have supposedly been investigating this case for 3½ years. Chasing their own bootstraps, remains the answer.

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