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Former Steinhoff Legal Chief Stephanus Grobler Granted Bail Amidst Ongoing Fraud Case

Published March 26, 2024
2 months ago

In a significant development surrounding the Steinhoff International Holdings scandal, the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has set bail at R150,000 for the company's former head of legal, Stephanus Johannes Grobler. This follows his court appearance on Monday after having been detained over the weekend.

Colonel Katlego Mogale, a spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), announced that the bail was accompanied by a number of stringent conditions. Grobler is under obligation to make regular visits to the Brooklyn police station every Monday and Friday. In addition to his bail, he is required to forfeit his two passports and his firearms, ensuring they are in police custody. The court has prohibited him from applying for any new passports and made it clear that Grobler is not permitted to leave the Gauteng province without official notification to the investigation officer. Another precautionary measure includes Grobler being ordered not to interfere with state witnesses.

The charges against Grobler include allegations of fraud, racketeering, and violating the Financial Markets Act, all set against the backdrop of the wider investigation concerning Steinhoff. Notably, he was due to appear alongside former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste, who was implicated in similar charges. Jooste, tragically, took his own life near his Hermanus home last week, an incident that is now under an inquest docket by Western Cape police, confirmed by spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Pojie.

Jooste's death occurred shortly after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) imposed a R475 million penalty on him, on the grounds of his involvement in the release of fraudulent financial statements from Steinhoff. Despite Jooste's passing, the FSCA has assured the public that the investigation will pursue its course without hindrance, emphasizing that there are other parties under investigation. The severity of the penalties reflects the Authority's dedication to upholding market integrity and they have committed to supporting ongoing investigations by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The Steinhoff scandal has sent shockwaves through South African corporate circles, representing one of the most prominent cases of alleged corporate fraud in the country's recent history. Looking ahead, Grobler is set to reappear in court on June 26 as the legal proceedings continue to unfold.

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