VBS Mutual Bank
Image: Twitter

More arrests expected in VBS Bank saga, case postponed

The seven suspects appeared before the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court where the matter was then postponed to January 2021


VBS Mutual Bank
Image: Twitter

The VBS Mutual Bank case is likely to lead to more people being arrested and additional charges against the seven accused.

The suspects appeared briefly before the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday, 8 October 2020. The matter was postponed to 26 January 2020, as the state prosecutor Heins van der Merwe said they needed to add further charges and possibly more suspects.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said by the next court appearance, all should be in order.

“We are hoping that between now and January those things would have taken place and would be able to share the new indictment with the accused. The investigation continues and all those developments would have to be hopefully finalised by 21 January,” said NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.

State prosecutor: ‘We’re almost ready to formalise the new charge sheet’

The accused already face 47 charges of theft, corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering in relation to one of the most notable looting sprees to ever emerge in the country.

Van der Merwe said they intended disclosing the necessary docket to the suspects by the end of the year.

“The disclosures will be done before the end of this year. This includes copies of the charge sheet and the docket. We are at an advanced stage and we’re almost ready to formalise the new charge sheet,” he said.

An investigation by advocate Terry Motau unravelled a web of financial deceit involving the bank. It found that at least 50 people essentially helped themselves to the bank’s coffers. This includes the bank’s former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Phillip Truter, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Andile Ramavhunga and chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi.

Approximately R2 billion was looted from the bank, which then led to its collapse.

Other suspects are Phophi Mukhodobwane (former treasurer), Sipho Malaba (former auditor at KPMG), Paul Magula and Ernest Nesane (former Public Investment Corporation executives) and Avashoni Ramikosi (former police officer).

A number of people are said to have benefited financially including Brian Shivambu, the brother of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Floyd and Venda king, Toni Mphephu.

On Wednesday, 7 October 2020, Truter became the first person in the scandal to be convicted after striking a deal with the NPA. He was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, three of which were suspended – this means he will be spending at least seven years in orange overalls.