Failure to act against Jooste’s rot shameful

Failure to act against Jooste’s rot shameful

How can a well-known fraudster evade arrest and the police dragnet after having defrauded local and international financial systems of R200-billion or more, and having created a web of other financial misdemeanours of even greater proportion, including concocting non-existent companies to inflate profits and hide losses?

This is the million-dollar question, but it also reveals how vulnerable and weak the country’s law-enforcement agencies have become, compromised, or weakened, failing to be moved by fraud of such magnitude committed by men and women who wear black and shiny suits and shoes.

Now the mastermind of the Steinhoff International fraud is dead, and there is nothing the police can do, for in the eyes of the law, in death  he is not longer a legal person who can be held accountable.

How crude and unjust is it that  this type of inaction by the police, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority could have been allowed to fester in a democratic South Africa, where all, irrespective of status or colour, are expected to be equal before the law?

As we understand it, the Hawks were investigating him but little progress had been made since 2017, when the scandal of financial impropriety first came to light.

Was Marcus Jooste above the law, or made to look as such because of his status as a billionaire?

Why did we drag our feet, sit on our hands, while malfeasance and corruption of this nature unfolded in front of our eyes, with no immediate and swift action taken to stop the rot?

We should have arrested him, and he should have stood trial.

The one who defrauded the financial systems of the nation and of the world was instead given a royal treatment, treated with kid gloves – invited to address a parliamentary committee to explain why such horrendous things happened when the logical thing was to arrest him as we do to many suspected black fraudsters.

Yes, in keeping with the common parlance, the law can often be an ass.

And here it was.

He misled the world with all that is obviously wrong in the face of clear evidence provided by audit firm PwC that he together with his wealthy executives were acting unlawfully, publishing misleading financial reports and fake transactions about their company running into billions of rands.

What evidence did we need to convince ourselves that things were going awry in the Steinhoff stable, when, in fact, Jooste failed to appear at a criminal trial in Germany, where he was facing a slew of charges of financial misappropriation, with a warrant of arrest having been issued by the court?

Now the man is dead. He committed suicide to escape prosecution.

There should be no tears for him.

Not only wealthy investors suffered because of his impropriety. Ordinary South Africans were hard hit, resulting in their pensions being lost or eroded.

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