Picture: succo/Pixabay
Picture: succo/Pixabay

Former CFO at Merafong Municipality charged in VBS Bank matter

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 25, 2020

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Johannesburg - A former acting chief financial officer (CFO) of Merafong Municipality appeared at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday in connection with a R50 million deposit made from the municipality's coffers and into VBS Bank in 2017.

Thys Wienekus has been charged with contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

Wienekus faces one charge and is accused of transferring R50 million from Merafong Municipality's bank account into VBS Bank in June 2017 even though he knew that it was against the law to do so.

The MFMA prohibits municipalities from banking with or making investments with mutual banks such as VBS. They can only make investments with commercial banks.

Wienekus has reportedly told investigators that he had made the deposits following instructions from acting Merafong Municipality manager Romeo Mohaudi.

His case has been postponed July 29.

Merafong Municipality is one of two Gauteng municipalities that illegally made deposits into VBS Bank.

VBS was declared bankrupt following an investigation by the SA Reserve Bank which that found over R1 billion was stolen from the bank over some time. The investigation also found that 20 municipalities, mostly from Limpopo and the North West, made deposits with the bank. A number of the municipalities have not been able to recover those funds.

Last week, the Hawks and the NPA confirmed the arrests of eight men in connection with the alleged looting of the bank.

Those arrested appeared in court last week and they include; former VBS Bank chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the bank's former chief executive Andile Ramavhunga, former treasurer Phophi Mukhodowane, Ernest Nene who had served as a PIC executive, former audit committee chairman Phalapha Ramikosi, Tshifelimbilu Nesane and Paul Magula, a former PIC executive.

An eighth suspect, accused number three, Philippus Truster a former VBS Bank CFO did not appear in court as he is under quarantine. The court set bail at R100 000 and the case has been postponed to October 8.

The Hawks said the men benefited unduly from R122 million which was allegedly stolen from VBS Bank.

The bank's collapse left many pensioners reeling as many were unable to recover the funds that had saved with the bank.

Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya said the latest arrests were part of the unit's advanced investigation into the municipal part of the VBS criminal matter.

“I have indicated that the investigations on the municipalities are at an advanced stage. This is the beginning and all the other cases are receiving the necessary attention” Lebeya said.

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