NPA says 'no conflict of interest' in Steinhoff paying R30m towards investigation

The NPA said the company had been insulated from the investigation. File photo.
The NPA said the company had been insulated from the investigation. File photo.
Image: Supplied

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Friday there was no conflict of interest in Steinhoff contributing millions of rand towards investigating fraud at the company.

Steinhoff told the Financial Mail that the Hawks and the NPA had approached it to ask if PwC (which had already completed a forensic investigation for the company) could “assist” because the state “hasn’t got the resources” to probe such a complex case.

Steinhoff told the publication that it had contributed R30m to finance the investigation.

"[Steinhoff reasoned that] it’s in the company’s interest that this thing goes forward, so we’ve made available an amount of R30m, which PwC can draw on,” Steinhoff CFO Theodore de Klerk was quoted as saying.

De Klerk said the company just signed the cheques but had no knowledge about the investigation.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the state had received “some generosity” from Steinhoff, “given that the forensic investigation was done by PwC who are the forensic investigators of Steinhoff and because the state, if they were to start from the beginning it meant that a lot of work had to be done spanning over five countries”.

He said the payment went straight to PwC and not to the state.

“This is going to help so that the investigation does not take twice or thrice as much. We do not see any conflict of interest.”

Ngwema said if it later emerged that the company had to be added to the list of suspects,  that process would follow.

“We have insulated the company from the investigation to make sure all the material that stems from the investigation comes to the investigators and it doesn’t go to the company, so that we make sure the integrity of the investigation remains intact,” he said.

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