CAPE TOWN – THE South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) said yesterday that, following an extensive period of investigation, charges of misconduct had been laid against former Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste.
SAICA said Jooste had conducted himself in a manner which “is discreditable, dishonourable, dishonest, irregular or unworthy, or which is derogatory to the Institute, or tends to bring the profession of accountancy into disrepute; and/or that he failed to maintain and adhere to the fundamental principles in the SAICA Professional Code of Conduct for Chartered Accountants”.
In June 2019, SAICA’s board resolved not to accept Jooste’s resignation from the institute and to rather suspend his membership pending the finalisation of disciplinary proceedings against him.
Charges included breaches of obligations relating to integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and professional behaviour, SAICA said in a statement yesterday.
Also, he had failed to respond to non-compliance or suspected non-compliance with the Financial Markets Act 19 of 2012; and had conducted himself in a manner which is “discreditable, dishonourable, dishonest, irregular or unworthy, or which is derogatory to SAICA, or tends to bring the profession of accountancy into disrepute in that he used insider information to deliberately discourage other persons from investing in Steinhoff”.
Jooste had also been dishonest in that he knew that Steinhoff was facing increased scrutiny from its external auditor regarding accounting irregularities at the time when Mayfair Speculators had requested further advances from Investec by way of a loan draw down.
As an executive director of Mayfair Speculators, Jooste had also approved the distribution of the dividend in specie to Mayfair despite being aware the Steinhoff share price was likely to be affected very negatively by matters within his knowledge.
He also failed to disclose various accounting irregularities contained in Steinhoff’s annual financial statements and instead made misrepresentations regarding these irregularities.
Jooste had also made material misrepresentations to the Steinhoff audit committee and to Parliament regarding the allegations of accounting irregularities in the annual financial statements.