There’s growing concern among some political parties that the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to accept funds from international retail giant Steinhoff will compromise its credibility.
The NPA has confirmed receiving more than R30-million from Steinhoff to investigate fraud in the company but says there is no conflict of interest.
However, the Congress of the People’s spokesperson Dennis Bloem says the financial help will negatively affect the NPA’s ability to investigate Steinhoff.
“The R30-million assistance from Steinhoff to the NPA must be rejected. It is unheard of that a suspect must give an investigator money to investigate him/herself. The NPA must not compromise itself.”
ACDP MP Steve Swart says other sources of funding should have been considered.
“While we appreciate the enormous cost of the complex forensic investigation involved, we believe it sets a bad precedent and can impact negatively upon the independence of these law enforcement institutions. The answer lies in ensuring that there are rather sufficiently funded from the National Treasury to avoid them having to rely on private funding to complete these complex investigations.”
The household goods company agreed to give Hawks investigators the money to finance an investigation into fraud at the company.
Three top Steinhoff executives were formally charged in Germany on Thursday with balance sheet fraud, which allegedly took place in 2015.
The Steinhoff scandal wiped out billions of rands from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
However, no arrests have been made yet in a case known as the biggest accounting fraud in corporate South Africa.
NPA spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, says at this stage, Steinhoff is also a victim that wants to see justice served.
“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.”