It wasn’t me! – Markus Jooste, the ‘Mother Theresa of Steinhoff’

Former Steinhoff chief executive officer Markus Jooste is appearing at Parliament in his first public appearance since the global retailer’s share price collapsed after accounting irregularities emerged last year. Picture: Cindy Archillie/EWN

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste on Wednesday told Parliament – under oath - that he didn’t know of any accounting irregularities when he stepped down in December last year.

Jooste blamed the near-total collapse in the Steinhoff share price on investors’ loss of confidence after the board decided – against his advice – to launch a new probe into suspected irregularities.

He says his Steinhoff shares were worth R3 billion before the collapse.

I want to place on record that when I left Steinhoff on 4 December, I was not aware of any accounting irregularity... what they refer to in the books of the company.

Markus Jooste

Jooste told Parliament that his worst mistake as CEO was agreeing to a joint venture with Austrian businessman Andreas Seifert.

He also said Steinhoff “probably” grew too quickly.

No apology to the thousands of people, including pensioners who you, yourself, concede suffered major financial losses.

David Maynier, Democratic Alliance

Parliament's finance committee chairperson Yunus Carrim slammed Jooste for his apparent lack of humility, saying that Jooste was trying to portray himself as the “Mother Theresa of Steinhoff”.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Business Day financial journalist Warren Thompson.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and scroll down for quotes from it).

Absolutely not! [When asked if he now has clarity about what happened at Steinhoff.]

Warren Thompson, Business Day

We certainly got a glimpse of how Mr Jooste is going to mount his defence…

Warren Thompson, Business Day

He looked like a much older man than merely a year ago… He looked quite tired… He was looking down… very different from the swashbuckling CEO…

Warren Thompson, Business Day

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