South Africa 10.10.2018 04:00 pm

Report into looting at VBS is Mboweni’s first test – DA

Former Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni. Gallo images

Former Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni. Gallo images

The report recommends that more than 50 individuals, including politicians and their associates, be criminally charged and held liable in civil proceedings.

Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament (MP) Kevin Mileham said in a statement on Wednesday that The Great Bank Heist report which reveals wide-scale looting at VBS Mutual Bank would be newly appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s first test.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Mboweni on Tuesday to replace Nhlanhla Nene after Nene handed in his letter of resignation following recent revelations that he had met with the Guptas several times while he was deputy minister of finance, despite earlier denying having done so.

Mileham said Mboweni needs to take swift action against all those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.

“Earlier this year the [DA] laid criminal charges against individuals who were allegedly involved in the VBS fraud, corruption and racketeering scandal. The forensic investigation report, ‘VBS Mutual Bank – The Great Bank Heist’, released by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) today, implies that there were even more people involved than originally thought. These include politicians and officials,” Mileham said.

The Great Bank Heist report recommends that more than 50 individuals be criminally charged and held liable in civil proceedings.

Mileham said the DA supports this recommendation and calls on Mboweni and law enforcement authorities to act swiftly and take action against all those implicated, “especially the politicians and those close to politicians, such as Brian Shivambu, brother of the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu, who is implicated in the scandal”.

“It is no surprise why the EFF has been vocal about defending the corruption that took place at VBS which saw many South Africans in danger of losing their hard-earned money and municipal funds wasted,” Mileham said.

Advocate Terry Motau, who completed the report, recommended that individuals identified as participating and benefiting from the VBS scandal should face criminal charges and be held liable in civil proceedings.

Motau’s recommendations regarding civil and other proceedings are:

  • that the Prudential Authority disclose to the curator parts of the report it deems appropriate to enable the curator to:
  • seek the grant of final orders of sequestration against those who have already been provisionally sequestrated on the application of the curator;
  • institute further proceedings for civil recoveries, including sequestration and winding-up proceedings, against those who have benefitted from the thefts and frauds;
  • seek the intervention of the Asset Forfeiture Unit to preserve and confiscate the proceeds of the crimes that have been committed.

Motua further recommends that:

  • an auditor’s liability claim be instituted by the Prudential Authority, the curator and National Treasury against KPMG for recovery of their respective damages.
  • that urgent steps be taken to wind-up VBS. “It seems clear to me that there is no prospect of saving VBS. It is corrupt and rotten to the core. Indeed, there is hardly a person in its employ in any position of authority who is not, in some way or other, complicit”, and
  • that the Prudential Authority should refer complaints about those implicated in the looting of VBS, many of whom are chartered accountants and some attorneys, to relevant professional bodies.

The Sarb said in a statement on Wednesday that it has handed over a copy of the report, as well as all the detailed interviews and annexures, to the law enforcement authorities for further investigation.

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