The results of a forensic investigation show former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo to be responsible for the province’s municipality illegal investment of R314 million in VBS Bank, The Mail & Guardian reports.
These two highly placed sources, one in the treasury and one in the provincial government, confirmed this, saying it was Mahumapelo who had invited VBS officials to a conference in North West in March, 2017.
One quote from a forensic report investigating the VBS matter reads: “We were informed during our interviews that VBS [was] given an opportunity to present their services and that the former North West premier vigorously encouraged the municipalities to invest with VBS, as VBS was a black-owned bank, which offered better interest rates.”
The report was presented to the ANC provincial task team in Tlokwe on Monday, where the VBS scandal was on the agenda.
Mahumopelo denied inviting the VBS officials to the conference and said he had no knowledge of the report.
The way the bank was looted is explained in the Mail & Guardian report. It operated like a “Ponzi” or pyramid scheme, in which those who benefit can only make money by attracting others to invest in the scheme.
It explains that the bank would create fake deposits in the name of various parties. It would then receive deposits from municipalities, which would be withdrawn against fake deposits or used to grant supposed loans to related parties. These loans would be taken care of via fraudulent payments along with accounting entries.
The bank’s CFO would then crook the books, submitting data to the Reserve Bank each month in a bid to make the looting appear legitimate. These monthly statements and returns would get signed off by external auditors, with those who knew about the scheme receiving payments in a bid to keep them quiet.
Mahumapelo’s was forced out as North West premier earlier this year after his alleged mismanagement sparked a wave of violent protest in the province calling for Mahumapelo to step down.
He was later fired as ANC chair in the province together with the entire leadership and the ANC subsequently formed a provincial task team (PTT) to take over from the disbanded Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) that had run the province.
Mahumapelo was initially part of the PTT but he later quit.
ANC branches from the North West are currently challenging the decision to disband the PEC in the South Gauteng high court, insisting the move was unlawful.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting by Kaunda Selisho)