The EFF has condemned the country’s law enforcement agencies after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that it received money from Steinhoff to assist with a forensic investigation into the company’s auditing scandal.
The Financial Mail reported on Friday that Steinhoff had agreed to give investigators from the Hawks and NPA R30 million to finance the probe by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) into the immense fraud at the company because the State did not “have the budget”.
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema has defended the funding, insisting that Steinhoff is a complaint in the matter and there is no conflict of interest.
“People need to understand that first of all, that this is a new board that instituted the investigation against directors that have left. So, if you understand this, the people involved in those activities are gone. The new board has also become complainants. They’ve given to the police and laid a criminal charge. They are paying for that. There is no money flowing into the government,” Ngwema said in an interview with SABC News on Friday.
He added: “So, they are paying PwC for the services and there is no conflict. So, the company as well, they see themselves as victims. We would have outsourced that function in any case, but we are already under pressure to deliver on this particular matter.”
But the EFF was not impressed by this saying the funding was embarrassing and made a mockery of South Africa’s democracy.
“It is the most embarrassing and pathetic representation of the weakness of law agencies in this country, and reveals a deeper capture of our state agencies by white monopoly capital,” the party’s national spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said in a statement.
“The EFF has long held the view that the regime of Cyril Ramaphosa has brought an increased arrogance by the white corporate sector in terms of how it operates and conducts itself. For Steinhoff to have the audacity to fund an investigation into itself is a mockery of our entire democracy, and simply means that a farce of a probe has been set in place, as no agency will find a guilty verdict against those who fund them.”
The Red Berets also claimed that this confirmed that the “establishment has bought and captured” the State by having the ability to determine outcomes of legal processes through funding them.
“We call on the Hawks to decisively reject funding from Steinhoff and conduct a transparent and independent investigation into large-scale fraud conducted by a company that has no regard for financial laws of this country.”
Meanwhile, it emerged this week that three top Steinhoff executives have been formally charged in Germany with balance sheet fraud.
While German prosecutors did not name the three former executives, reports suggested that the company’s former CEO Markus Jooste and its former chief for Europe, Dirk Schreiber, are amongst the three charged.