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Publish date: 01 April 2024
Issue Number: 1070
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: general


Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste evaded his day in court by killing himself on the eve of his arrest llast month. In his latest Q&A feature in the Sunday Times, Chris Barron addressed the latest development with National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shamila Batohi.

Why did it take you so long? Because this is how long complex cases take to investigate. We’ve had three prosecutors working on this in the past six years with about seven investigators from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).


Together with a forensic report by PwC in 2019, investigations by the Financial Services Conduct Authority and the Reserve Bank ... So no shortage of evidence? That is what complicated it. That there were so many investigations by different bodies, which meant prosecutors needed to go through all of this and decide which parts they could ring fence in order to make sense of it and prosecute. And a lot of the evidence was abroad. We had to make MLA (mutual legal assistance) requests to Germany, Austria, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, France ...


Would you have been ready for trial if Jooste had been arrested? We were 95% ready.


Ready enough for a conviction? Absolutely. Once a person’s arrested it doesn’t mean you stop investigating. But at this point we’d reached the reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.


With an A-team led by Wim Trengove? Three external counsel, including Trengove, were brought on board recently to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. But I have to emphasise that this case has been led by three extremely competent NPA prosecutors for the past six years.


Q&A feature in Sunday Times

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