Former CEO of Steinhoff Markus Jooste answers questions from the finance parliamentary committee in Cape Town
Image: Esa Alexander

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste says choice of strategic partner was his ‘big mistake’.

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste says his "big mistake" as CEO was entering into a joint venture strategic partnership in 2007 with the German Seiffert group.

Jooste told MPs in Parliament on Wednesday that when he resigned on December 5 he sent an SMS to close colleagues in which he conceded that he had made big mistakes.

He explained that his big mistake was his choice of a strategic partner which‚ in 2015‚ had entered into litigation with Steinhoff‚ playing on allegations of irregularities in the group.

His SMS also said that he would have to take the consequences of the collapse of the group as a man. Jooste explained that these consequences were the fact that he had devoted 29 years of his life to building up a global furniture retailer which he had hoped to build up into the future.

Under questioning by MPs Jooste said he was "saddened" by what had happened to Steinhoff and the losses suffered by investors and pensioners.

At the time of the collapse of the Steinhoff share price after the December 5 2017 revelations that accounting irregularities were under investigation‚ Jooste had a family trust which had an investment company which held 68-million Steinhoff shares valued at about R3bn.

He insisted that he was not aware of anyone within the group who had deliberately and knowingly contravened its code of conduct.

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Steinhoff's former chief executive, Markus Jooste, told a parliamentary inquiry investigating an accounting scandal at the retailer that he was not aware of any accounting irregularities when he left the firm in December 2017. Jooste appeared before the inquiry on September 5 2018.
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