scandal@ (Adds shares, background)
CAPE TOWN, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Former Steinhoff Chief Executive Markus Jooste on Wednesday appeared before a South African parliamentary panel investigating an accounting scandal that rocked the retailer, a Reuters witness said.
Jooste, who is also under fraud investigation by South African police, resigned in December after the company, which has more than 40 retail brands including Conforama in France, Poundland in the UK and Mattress Firm in the United States, uncovered accounting irregularities that hit its share price and left it scrambling for working capital.
Jooste was instrumental in transforming Steinhoff from a small Johannesburg furniture outfit into multinational retailer.
Steinhoff shares rose at much as 5 percent ahead of Jooste's hearing at parliament.
In July, creditors agreed to hold debt claims for three years, removing a imminent threat of default that would have tipped the company into bankruptcy.
Steinhoff's chairwoman a week ago told the parliamentary committee that its board would meet to discuss asset sales to boost cash flow and pay down debt, months after creditors of the South African retailer threw it a lifeline. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; writing by James Macharia; editing by Jason Neely)