On Monday, Tongaat Hulett’s executives finally got the prize they’d been waiting for since March: PwC’s gift-wrapped forensic report on its past "accounting irregularities". For the 127-year-old sugar company, it’s a vital step to understanding how years of insidious short cuts devastated the business, creating an artificially sweetened picture of its true performance.

The report, 7,000 pages long and written by PwC’s forensics team led by veteran Trevor White, confirmed a depressingly pervasive pattern of irregularities, according to well-placed sources from within the company and externally...

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