Steinhoff: Crikey, PwC, was this the best you could do?
Fourteen months and 100 auditors later, all we have is a 10-page sanitised overview of the Steinhoff saga
“A redacted version of Rob Rose’s book,” was how one leading legal academic described the lightweight “Overview of Forensic Investigation” by PwC, referring to the much weightier account of the Steinhoff implosion, Steinheist, written by Financial Mail editor Rob Rose.
After 14 months of investigating by 100 PwC auditors and untold numbers of Steinhoff employees the public has been provided with a sanitised 10-page overview of a report that apparently runs to 3,000 pages and has 4,000 documents as annexures and presumably cost tens of millions of rand.
It (the 10-pager) was apparently the best they could do in the context of alleged wrongdoers armed to the teeth with extremely well-paid lawyers. PwC and the Steinhoff board were evidently intent on ensuring they scored no own-goals by either giving away information or setting themselves up for a legal challenge ahead of the promised court action.
Markus Jooste is the only person named in the overview and even his name is not formally connected to the events investigated. “A small group of Steinhoff Group former executives and other non-Steinhoff executives led by a senior management ...” put the whole sorry mess together and ran it for at least 10 years. The PwC investigation was limited to events from 2009. Rose’s book, and the work of other journalists, indicate it all began much earlier.
After reading all 10 pages and reading in between the lines it’s not difficult to feel immensely grateful to Rose and his colleagues, as well as the guys from Viceroy who, on December 7 2017, provided us all with a more detailed account of what had been going on at Steinhoff than PwC and its 100 auditors have.