PARLIAMENT, August 29 – Inflated profits, assets acquired at inflated values and the fact that Steinhoff did not have a single auditor was responsible for the accounting scandal that collapsed the multinational retailer’s share price, the company’s former chief financial officer told MPs.
Testifying before Parliament’s standing committees on finance and public accounts, as well as the portfolio committees on trade and industry and public service and administration on what led to the Steinhoff scandal, former CFO Ben La Grange said he did not believe he did anything wrong despite being suspended from his consulting position last week.
“From my side, I don’t think I did anything wrong,” he said.
Explaining the inflated profits, La Grange said a seemingly non-existent buying group, funded via a loan from Steinhoff, was set up.
“What transpired there was a buying group and this buying group paid additional rebates to operating entities, therefore the companies showed profits…”
He then went on to point the finger at former chief executive Markus Jooste who is under criminal investigation.
He said assets were acquired at inflated values by third parties being “influenced by the previous CEO”.
La Grange stepped down as the chief financial officer in January, a month after Jooste quit, but stayed on as a consultant for Steinhoff companies in France and the US. His suspension from this post was confirmed by Steinhoff board and management.
– African News Agency (ANA)