People accused of looting VBS Mutual Bank to finally face more than 100 charges

A file picture of some of the accused implicated in the multi-billion-rand heist of VBS Mutual Bank. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of some of the accused implicated in the multi-billion-rand heist of VBS Mutual Bank. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 6, 2021


Pretoria - The 14 people accused of looting VBS Mutual Bank will finally face more than 100 charges for their alleged roles in the heist, on October 12, in court.

The accused include Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza. They appeared briefly before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria on Monday.

The matter had been transferred from the Palm Ridge Commercial Court, in Ekurhuleni, for pre-trial, but was postponed to October because some of the accused had recently changed legal representation.

Msiza and former VBS chairperson Calvin Tshifhiwa Matodzi, and 12 others, including bank executives, politicians, municipal officials and managers, were formally indicted by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in March, for allegedly looting nearly R2.3 billion from mostly poor people from the rural areas, especially around the bank’s headquarters in Thohoyandou, in Limpopo.

About 14 municipalities, in Limpopo, North West and Gauteng, lost nearly R1.6bn, after illegally investing with the bank.

The suspects denied the charges after advocate Terry Motau penned a report implicating all of them in 2019, with Msiza saying he was not given enough time to respond to the report.

According to the 206-page indictment, the NPA alleged that Msiza was the central figure between VBS and the municipalities that had illegally invested monies, in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Msiza, Matodzi, former ANCYL Limpopo leader Kabelo Matsepe, Rallion Razinnane, Takunda Edgar Michele,Tshianeo Madadze, Andile Malusi, Ramavhunga Mulimisi, Solomon Maphosa, Simpho Malabar, Phalaphala Ramikosi, Thifhelimbilu Nesane, Paul Manila and Robert Madzonga are out on bail, of between R50 000 and R100 000 each, after being charged with the 180 counts, including racketeering and corruption.

Responding to Pretoria News on why some of the accused had replaced their legal representatives, NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana could only confirm the trial date.

She said: “The judge asked the accused to communicate with their legal representatives, to make sure the matter is trial ready. It was postponed to October 12.”

Charlotte Ngobeni, of the Collins Chabane Municipality, in Limpopo, has been charged separately for allegedly accepting kickbacks, after she signed off on using R120 million of municipal funds to be invested in VBS.

Mushoni Tshifhango, from Thulamela Municipality, also in Limpopo, was fired by the ANC in June, for his role in the VBS saga.

Former VBS chief financial officer Philip Truter is expected to be a star witness when the trial starts, after he took a plea bargain and accepted a seven-year imprisonment sentence, in exchange for information.

The bank was placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank, and a forensic investigation was instituted to establish exactly what went wrong, and it is expected that more details will be disclosed when the trial begins in October.

Pretoria News