Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
15 Oct 2018
1:03 pm

Venda King offers conditions for paying back VBS money

Daniel Friedman

In an open letter, the Vhavenda monarch denies doing wrong but says he will pay back the money if it's proven he received it gratuitously.

Vhavenda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana. Picture: Capricorn Review.

Venda King Mphephu-Ramabulana has offered to pay back the money he received from VBS Bank but provided a condition – he will pay it back only if the money is “shown to have been proceeds of the illegalities in the report”.

The monarch was accused of having received R17.7 million “gratuitously” from VBS Bank in the damning report The Great Bank Heist commissioned by Treasury and released last week.

But the king appears to be offering to pay back the money while simultaneously denying having received it.

“To the best of my knowledge no amount of R17 million was paid to me, gratuitous or otherwise,” he says.

Later in the letter, he claims to receive various grants legitimately and appears to imply the VBS Bank payment may have been one of those grant payments.

READ MORE: VBS in crosshairs after Venda king plans fraud case

While in his open letter addressed to the Vhavenda people, the king does appear to offer to pay back the money if any wrongdoing can be proven, he also wrote that he is “entitled to a fairer treatment” slamming the report’s author, advocate Terry Motau, as well as Werksman’s Attorneys, who the report was published in association with, for not having interviewed him to get his side of the story.

He accuses Motau and Werksmans of having published the report in knowledge of the “grave damage” the mention of his name would have to “me personally as well as to the kingship of the Vhavenda people”.

If the king did indeed receive gratuitous funds from VBS, this casts a peculiar light on reports in June that he himself had accused the bank of fraud and corruption.

In the Sunday Times, it was reported that Ramabulana said VBS left him with a R240,000 monthly bill after they allegedly used his name to secure money from the bank. These funds allegedly went towards a shopping spree for luxury items.

The Times reports that Ramabulana is planning on opening a case of fraud and corruption against VBSs former chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi and Vele Investments’ Robert Madzonga.

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