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Former Thulamela mayor, municipal manager in court over VBS Bank investment

The former mayor and former municipal manager of Thulamela local municipality in Limpopo appeared in the Polokwane Specialised Crime Court over VBS Bank investment. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

The former mayor and former municipal manager of Thulamela local municipality in Limpopo appeared in the Polokwane Specialised Crime Court over VBS Bank investment. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 24, 2022

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Rustenburg - The former mayor of Thulamela local municipality in Limpopo, Avhashoni Stephen Tshifhango, appeared in the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

Tshifhango appeared together with former municipal manager Hlengani Emanuel Maluleke, on allegations of corruption and maladministration, in connection with the looting of the Venda Building Society (VBS) Mutual Bank.

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"The former mayor allegedly received a Jeep Cherokee 3.6L VVT Overland, valued at over R600 000 from the director of VBS, as gratification for the investment made by the Thulamela municipality, and the municipal manager invested R30 million of municipality money into VBS, in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA)," said NPA spokesperson in Limpopo, Mashudu Malabi Dzhangi.

The two are on R30 000 bail each, and their case was postponed to July 20 to set a pre-trial date.

At least 20 municipalities in Limpopo, North West and Gauteng lost nearly R1.6 billion after illegally investing with the bank.

In North West, the Madibeng local municipality allegedly invested over R50 million in the troubled VBS Bank, Moretele local municipality invested R70 million, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District municipality R100 million, and the Mahikeng local municipality invested over R92 million taxpayers money in VBS Bank.

The former municipal manager of Mahikeng local municipality, Thabo Mokoena, was arrested on charges related to the VBS Mutual bank investment.

Mokoena is accused of Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) as well as the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

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These charges are linked to over R92 million the municipality invested in the VBS Mutual Bank from August 2017 until December 2017, under his leadership as the accounting officer of the municipality, the NPA in North West said.

Out of the over R92 million that was irregularly invested with VBS Mutual Bank, only R7 million was paid back to the Mahikeng local municipality.

Mokoena was granted R50 000 bail.

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