Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
12 Mar 2021
2:48 pm

Seven new VBS looting suspects released on bail

Bernadette Wicks

The state alleges the accused looted nearly R2.3 billion and doctored financial statements to cover the bank's insolvency

Seven more suspects in the VBS Mutual Bank case have all been released on bail after making their first appearance in the dock.

Among the group was former chief operating officer at VBS as well as Vele Investments Mmbulaheni Robert Madzonga; former Limpopo ANC Youth League leader Kabelo Matsepe; and the party’s provincial treasurer Danny Msiza. They were joined by Ralliom Razwinane, Takunda Edgar Mucheke, Tshianeo Madadzhe and Mulimisi Solomon Maposa.

The newest suspects in the case were arrested following a series of early morning raids spanning across Gauteng and Limpopo by the Hawks on Thursday morning and appeared before the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning, when they all were granted bail of either R50 000 or R100 000.

They’re due back in court later this month, alongside their co-accused.

The state alleges the VBS accused looted nearly R2.3 billion from the bank’s coffers and doctored its 2017 financial statements to cover up the fact that it was insolvent.

In 2018, the South African Reserve Bank placed VBS under curatorship and a forensic investigation was instituted to establish exactly what had gone wrong.

Advocate Terry Motau SC’s resultant 148-page report, titled “VBS Mutual Bank – The Great Bank Heist”, blew the lid on “a wide range of criminality in the conduct of the affairs of VBS” and recommended criminal charges be investigated.

Eight people were arrested last year, among them former VBS executives Tshifhiwa Matodzi, Andile Ramavhunga, Phophi Mukhodobwane and Philip Truter as well as Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, who both came from the Public Investment Corporation; Phalaphala Ramikosi, the police’s former chief financial officer; and Sipho Malaba, formerly from KPMG.

But in October, Truter struck a deal with the state and pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering, money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and corruption. And he is currently serving an effective seven years behind bars.

Tsakani Ngobeni, the former municipal manager of the Collins Chabane local municipality, was also arrested on Thursday on separate but related charges. She stands accused of contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act as well as corruption and money laundering. This over hundreds of millions of rands worth of municipal funds she is said to have had invested with VBS in exchange for hotel stays and spa treatments, cash, credit and a luxury watch.

She also made an appearance in the dock on Friday and was granted bail – unopposed – of R50 000.

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