News / South Africa

Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
11 Oct 2018
3:30 pm

Hawks, NPA quick on VBS, but ‘dragging feet’ on Steinhoff – De Vos

Gopolang Moloko

De Vos says he will not hold his breath on progress being made in the investigation of the furniture multinational Steinhoff scandal.

Pierre de Vos. Picture: Facebook.

Constitutional expert Pierre de Vos has questioned the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority’s capability to investigate cases.

De Vos in a tweet mentioned how the Hawks and NPA were quick to react to the VBS fraud investigation. He later questioned why it was taking the two entities so long to build a case against Steinhoff.

He signs off the tweet by saying he was “not going to hold his breath” on the matter.

The NPA and Hawks have confirmed a final investigation report into the R1.8 billion fraud at VBS bank will not be used as evidence to prosecute any individuals, but will serve as a guide to prosecutors and police investigators.

Advocate Terry Motau led investigations into the report titled The great bank heist, detailing wide-scale looting of money that was deposited at VBS.

The report was handed to the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) on October 5, 2018, by Motau.

Motau is quoted saying VBS was corrupt, rotten to the core, and that a majority of the bank’s employees in senior positions were in some way or other complicit in the shenanigans at the bank.

The bank’s executives apparently bribed public officials that could influence deposits being made with the bank.

Both the Hawks and NPA appear to be on the ball on the matter, and this concerns De Vos, who appears to believe the same pace of investigation does not apply to the “accounting irregularity” in multinational Steinhoff.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in a September Citizen report, echoed what De Vos appears to be saying. ISS said the scandal may be too massive a case for the country’s state agencies to handle.

ISS CEO Jackie Cilliers suggested the country look to foreign governments and international agencies for assistance, given the amount of time it has taken authorities to make as much as an arrest since Steinhoff’s share price plummeted following alleged accounting irregularities which emerged last year.

In March, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago placed the bank under curatorship, citing its liquidity issues.

Last year Treasury put a stop to municipal deposits into VBS because of legislation that dictates municipalities may only make deposits with full commercial financial institutions, not a mutual bank such as VBS. This led to its liquidity crisis.

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