Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
26 Jan 2021
11:20 am

VBS bank case heading to High Court as more suspects added

Bernadette Wicks

The case will finally head to the High Court, after the state secures a special certificate from the National Director of Public Prosecutions for the addition of more suspects.

Eight suspects accused of looting the VBS Bank appear at Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, on 18 June 2020. They were each granted R100, 000 bail. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The VBS Mutual Bank case is headed for the High Court.

The case came briefly before the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning, when it was postponed due to additional suspects, that the state has its eye on, to be added and for transfer to the High Court.

This marks the second time the case has been postponed for the addition of more suspects.

The court heard on Monday, though, that the state had not yet been able to secure a special certificate it needs from the National Director of Public Prosecutions for the addition.

Eight people were originally arrested last year, among them former VBS executives Tshifhiwa Matodzi, Andile Ramavhunga, Phophi Mukhodobwane and Philip Truter, as well as Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, who both came from the Public Investment Corporation; Phalaphala Ramikosi, the police’s former chief financial officer (CFO); and Sipho Malaba, formerly from KPMG .

ALSO READ: More charges and more accused in the dock soon for VBS scandal

But in October, Truter struck a deal with the state and pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering, money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and corruption. He is currently serving an effective seven years behind bars.

In 2018, the South African Reserve Bank placed VBS under curatorship and a forensic investigation was instituted to establish exactly what had gone wrong.

Advocate Terry Motau’s resultant 148-page report, titled VBS Mutual Bank – The Great Bank Heist, blew the lid on “a wide range of criminality in the conduct of the affairs of VBS” and recommended criminal charges be investigated.

The state alleges the accused looted nearly R2.3 billion from VBS’s coffers and doctored the bank’s 2017 financial statements to cover up the fact that it was insolvent.

The case is due back before the court in March. In the meantime, the accused are all currently out on bail of R100,000 each.

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