EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu has broken his silence on the VBS mutual bank scandal in which his brother received R16 million of which reports allege that Shivambu himself received R10 million.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Floyd Shivambu lashed out at what he termed "weapons of mass deception and propaganda machines hard at work to mislead our people with their fake news". 

"For the record, I have never received R10 million from VBS or anyone in my personal account," Shivambu said.

An independent report commissioned by the SA Reserve Bank to probe the collapse of the mutual bank found that there was "wide scale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS". 

The monies were clients' life savings and deposits, including millions of rands deposited by municipalities.

The report, titled "The Great Bank Heist" showed that at least 50 people "gratuitously" received R1.894 billion from the bank over a three-year period starting in March 2015. 

They included top management at the bank's major shareholder Vele Investments, its associates who cashed in more than R936 million. Others also included bank executives and Limpopo politicians, as well as Brian Shivambu, the brother of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who received R16 million. 

Subsequent media reports alleged that R10 million of that money was then directed to Floyd Shivambu while the EFF benefited to the tune of R1.3 million.

Brian Answer Shivambu on Thursday denied receiving R16 million from the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank. In a statement, Brian Shivambu said he plans to sue the SA Reserve Bank for defamation of character. 

On Saturday, Floyd Shivambu said "faceless sources reportedly to be from South African Reserve Bank, who have ulterior motives, have been misleading journalists and radio presenters with their malicious narrative". 

"I have no dealings with VBS and any attempt to link the EFF to the bank for cheap political points is a clear sign of desperation and soon enough people will see through it. 

"The so-called well-placed sources in the SARB is a coward and a liar who misled journalists and can’t even reveal their identity. I have no dealings with VBS and attempts to link the EFF position to business dealings are disingenuous and patently weak."

He added that the EFF’s principled position on the VBS matter has always been the following: 

* That VBS must not be liquidated and should instead be recapitalised in the same way African Bank was recapitalized. 

* That all people who were associated with wrongdoing should be held accountable and those who illegally benefited from the fraud must be criminally prosecuted immediately. 

* That whilst the collapse of VBS was due to fraud and looting, it was also due to regulatory failure of the SARB, which fails to independently verify the capital adequacy of Bank but placed undue faith in auditing companies despite warnings about the complicity of auditors in corruption. 

* That the Curator must protect the interests of Depositors. 

* That the SARB should transparently manage all issues that relate to curatorship of the bank and must engage in fair practice. 

* An independent commission of inquiry should be established to look into the role of National Treasury, SARB and VBS on all circumstances that led to the collapse of the bank. 

"Our position on VBS has never changed even when the Bank is under curatorship. That is why we exposed the appointment of Nedbank to take over the accounts of VBS Depositors without due process despite the fact that there are fewer Nedbank branches and Nedbank is the most expensive. 

"If our interest was on siphoning money from the dissolved Board Members of VBS, we would have disengaged when the bank was placed under curatorship. We however continue to closely monitor how Depositors monies, made endless call to the Reserve Bank to give people their money and motivated why the Bank should be saved."

* Read more on the #VBSBankHeist here.

African News Agency (ANA)