NPA formally indicts Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza, 13 other VBS bank suspects
Pretoria - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has formally indicted Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza and 13 others accused of looting the VBS Mutual Bank and is expected to serve them with a fresh indictment next week.
However, Msiza’s supporters insisted yesterday that the businessman was a victim of a politically motivated smear campaign aimed at keeping him out of political office and forcing a political realignment ahead of the ANC’s national elective conference next year.
According to the 206-page indictment seen by Pretoria News, and titled ‘The state versus Tshivhwa Matodzi and others', the NPA alleges that Msiza was the central figure between VBS and the municipalities that illegally invested millions into the now-defunct mutual bank, in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).
The indictment shows that the NPA has charged Msiza, who is accused number 11, for allegedly convincing 12 municipalities to invest about R1.5 billion into the now collapsed bank.
“Accuse 10,11,12,13 and 14 were party to the solicitation of deposits by various municipalities into VBS and influenced various municipalities to make such investments and investments,” it read in part.
Msiza, former Limpopo ANC Youth League leader Kabelo Matsepe, Ralliom Razwinane, Takunda Edgar Mucheke and Tshianeo Madadzhe appeared before the Palm Ridge magistrate court in Ekurhuleni last Thursday after being added to a list of suspects accused of looting then bank of R2.3 bn.
They were released on bail of between R50 000 and R100 000 each after being charged with 180 counts of racketeering, theft, fraud and money laundering.
They joined the other accused who included former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Calvin Matodzi, Andile Malusi Ramavhunga, Mulimisi Solomon Maposa, Simpho Calvin Malaba, Phalaphala Avashoni Ramikosi, Thifhelimbilu Ernest Nesane, Paul Magula and Mmbulaheni Robert Madzonga.
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema yesterday said the indictment meant that the state had completed its case against the accused.
“The indictment was served on the last seven accused on Friday 13 March and it will be served on all of them again on 26 March,” Ngwema said.
When asked if the defence had responded to the indictment yet, Ngwema said: “The defence will defend themselves on the accusations during the course of the trial.”
The trial is expected to start in September and expected to last for six months.
Msiza could not be reached for comment yesterday as his phone rang unanswered.
His supporters, including the ANC’s Peter Mokaba region, have again accused unnamed people of using the NPA to fight political battles against the businessman.
Regional ANC spokesperson, Jimmy Machaka said: “We maintain the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Our view is that there is no case against them as this is just a political smear campaign against our leaders. Even if they have to face charges, we say they should face the charges while still in office. We are confident that almost 70% of the branches in the province want our comrades to continue doing their work in the ANC even when charged,” said Machaka.
Msiza and Limpopo ANC deputy chairperson, Florence Radzilani, were suspended by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) in 2018 in connection with the VBS scandal.
However, the party’s highest decision-making structure between national elective conferences later resolved to lift their suspension, but this was never done. The VBS report found that Radzilani, the former Vhembe municipality mayor, had asked for a R300 000 Christmas bonus from VBS for rallying her council behind the bank.
According to the indictment, Matsepe (accused no 10) was allegedly a middleman between municipal officials and Msiza, whose alleged role was to intervene and secure VBS deposits.
Matsepe was allegedly paid millions for his efforts. More than R16 million was paid into his company, Moshate, while over R4 million was deposited into his personal bank account to distribute to mysterious beneficiaries. This included unregistered or non-existent companies.
The indictment details how the funds were funnelled from VBS to Matsepe which would ultimately end up in Mziza’s hands.
The Limpopo politician was identified as the Kingpin in advocate Terry Motau’s ‘The Great Bank Heist' report that blew the lid off the VBS saga.
Msiza successfully challenged the report at the Pretoria High Court, which set aside the portion of the report which made damning findings against him because he was not interviewed during the investigations.
According to the report, the accused funnelled the savings and investments of the mainly poor people of Vhembe in Limpopo into their personal bank accounts between 2015 and 2018. The money included investments from municipalities, stokvels, burial societies and ordinary South African citizens, especially the elderly.
Charlotte Ngobeni, the Municipal Manager of the Collins Chabane municipality in Limpopo, has been charged separately for allegedly accepting kickbacks in exchange for illegally investing R120 million of municipal money with VBS. She has been charged with corruption for allegedly accepting a Range Rover worth about R1.4 million from one of the VBS suspects.
Former VBS chief financial officer, Phillip Truter, has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, theft and money laundering. He has been sentenced to an effective seven years behind bars. Truter is believed to have turned state witness.