Former Mahikeng municipal manager in court for VBS ’investment’
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FORMER municipal manager of Mahikeng local municipality, Thabo Mokoena, arrested on charges related to the VBS Mutual bank scandal, appeared briefly in the Molopo Magistrate's Court in Mmabatho yesterday.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the case against Mokoena, 61, was postponed to February 15 in 2022 for the defence team to get instructions from him.
“The State confirmed the completion of investigations into the matter and also declared a disclosure. The defence team will be provided with the full contents of the docket electronically to allow them time to prepare for trial. Should there be no other issues between the State and the defence team, an indictment will be prepared to move the case to a higher court for trial,” NPA spokesperson in North West, Henry Mamothame, said.
Mokoena is facing charges under the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) as well as the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
The charges are linked to over R92 million the municipality invested in the VBS Mutual bank during the period of August 2017 until December 2017, under his leadership as the accounting officer of the municipality.
“In accordance to the MFMA stipulations, this investment was irregular and is prohibited. Mokoena is also alleged to have received gratification in the form of credit facilities to purchase two expensive vehicles and a house in Klerksdorp, cumulatively amounting to R1 275 318. 96,” Mamothame said.
“Preliminary investigations by the Hawks reveal that of the R92 million that was irregularly invested with VBS Mutual Bank only R7 million was paid back to the Mahikeng local municipality.”
His bail of R50 000 was extended until his next court appearance. He surrendered his passport and he is prohibited from interfering with State witnesses.
In another separate VBS case, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation better known as the Hawks, said former municipal manager of Fetakgomo-Greater Tubatse local municipality, former chief financial officer and owner of a private business were arrested on Tuesday morning at their residences around Pretoria.
They allegedly invested municipal funds with VBS Mutual Bank in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
“The investigation revealed that Fetakgomo-Greater Tubatse Local Municipality invested an amount of R230 million which was paid in five tranches from 15 November 2016 to 19 February 2018. The whole amount invested was never paid back to the municipality,” said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Nomthandazo Mbambo
The three were expected to appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court today, facing charges of Contravention of section 173 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, corruption, and money laundering.