Present; not ac­counted for

Financial Mail - - DIAMONDS & DOGS -

Cu­ri­ouser and cu­ri­ouser — that was the gen­eral re­ac­tion to a rare sight­ing of Stel­len­bosch’s most in­vis­i­ble man, Markus Jooste, when he ap­peared in front of a whole al­pha­bet soup of par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees last week.

Despite hours of grilling from eco­nomic lu­mi­nar­ies and ac­count­ing afi­ciona­dos such as the EFF’S fast­mov­ing Floyd Shivambu, Jooste was res­o­lute in his de­fence, sur­pris­ing the au­di­ence, and in­deed the coun­try, with his as­ser­tion that he had no idea that any­thing fishy was go­ing on in the way of ac­count­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties by the time he chucked in his res­ig­na­tion.

His story — and who would doubt the word of such a man? — was that he was a bit bored with all the in­ves­ti­gat­ing, and when the board turned down his sug­ges­tion that it fire Deloitte and find a rather more amenable species of au­di­tor to shove the ac­counts out, he de­cided he’d had enough of all the bother. The one big mis­take he was pre­pared to own up to was get­ting into bed with Ger­man re­tailer An­dreas Seifert in a tem­pes­tu­ous re­la­tion­ship that ended af­ter eight years — af­ter which Seifert went full bunny boiler on him.

So the big mys­tery that re­mains is who was re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing holes in the bal­ance sheet big enough to drive a su­per­tanker through? Jooste says he doesn’t have a clue; EX-CFO Ben la Grange says he is none the wiser; and chair Christo Wiese, who had con­sid­er­ably more to lose than any­body else, cer­tainly doesn’t know. If it wasn’t any­body in the ex­ec­u­tive suite, could it pos­si­bly have been an over-zeal­ous mar­ket­ing in­tern or a dis­grun­tled tea lady?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.