“I think we should be supportive of the work that has been done, but having said that… what South Africans are looking for is significant numbers of high level successful prosecutions and convictions. While it’s important to understand the processes that have to be followed, the reality is that we aren’t seeing [these] prosecutions and convictions,” he said.
Lees continued to asked Hawks about the progress on the investigations into Steinhoff.
“Perhaps general, you could tell me how far you have got in prosecuting anyone in the Steinhoff matter, but more particularly the fellow from Hermanus, Mr Jooste.”
The NPA and Hawks have been conducting investigations into Steinhoff after an audit investigation found the company had allegedly been inflating its profits from 2009 to 2017.
NPA head Shamila Batohi responded to Lees, saying that “a lot of work is still under investigation”, adding that National Treasury was working with the agency to address its budget challenges.
“It’s the complex matters which Mr Lees talked about that are the ones that are really giving us the challenges,” Batohi said.
“I agree we cannot have cases that go on indefinitely, and we must try to ensure that even in the c we bring them to court as quickly as we can,” she added.
Meanwhile, Hawks head, Godfrey Lebeya provided an update on the Steinhoff matter.
The Hawks have been in the process of seeking witness statements and banks statements from foreign countries under mutual legal assistance compact as part of its Steinhoff investigation.
In December last year, Financial Services Tribunal upheld the FSCA’s finding that former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste contravened Section 78(5) of the Financial Markets Act (FMA) for sharing insider trading information.
Jooste had taken the FSCA to the Tribunal after he was fined R161 million in October 2020.
The Tribunal referred the determination of an “appropriate penalty” to the FSCA.
The former Steinhoff boss – in March last year – was charged with balance sheet fraud after the prosecutor’s office in the city of Oldenburg in Germany completed its six-year investigation.
At the time, Steinhoff also agreed to give the NPA and Hawks R30 million in an effort to complete their investigations into the company.
Additional reporting by Ina Opperman