Prominent ANC figures in Limpopo due in court over VBS Mutual Bank saga
Two prominent Limpopo ANC figures are due to appear at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court on Friday on charges related to the VBS Mutual Bank racketeering, fraud and corruption case.
This comes after they were issued with warrants of arrest on Thursday, which led to them deciding to hand themselves over to authorities on Thursday afternoon.
One of them serves in the higher echelons of the ANC provincial executive committee in Limpopo and is known to TimesLIVE but cannot be named as he has not yet appeared in court and pleaded to the charges.
He was issued with a warrant of arrest along with another top ANC Limpopo figure over their alleged involvement in the looting of hundreds of millions of rand from the VBS Mutual Bank.
The official was named in advocate Terry Motau's report as the kingpin that coerced municipalities to invest millions of rand in the now defunct bank. However, the official successfully challenged the report last year.
According to the report, the top official used another ANC person as a conduit to instruct municipalities to make deposits into VBS Mutual Bank.
Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), would not be drawn into confirming the identifies of the pair. But he confirmed that a matter related to the VBS Mutual Bank heist was scheduled to be heard at the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court on Friday.
Attorneys representing the pair said they had not been arrested but they have been served with arrest warrants.
Piet du Plessis and Ulrich Kruger from BDK Attorneys said arrangements for the pair to hand themselves over had been made.
“They have not been arrested, we were notified that there’s a warrant of arrest and we’ve said that arrangements will be made for them to hand themselves over,” Du Plessis said.
“We’re told there’s seven people that are about to be joined in the matter, but we’re only representing the two.”
Kruger, representing one of the accused, confirmed that a warrant of arrest has been issued for his client.
“My client has not been arrested, he will hand himself over this afternoon and will appear in court tomorrow. It’s in relation to the VBS Mutual Bank matter,” Kruger said.
Du Plessis said they took exception that they were not given notification on time.
“Ja, well look, we’ve been notified only today by the investigative directorate that these people will be joined in the matter.
“We’re on record for months now where we’ve said to the people, give us reasonable notification and we’ll come in - but they haven't,” he said.
At least eight people have been charged over the theft at VBS, while the bank’s former CFO Phillip Truter was sentenced to seven years after entering into a plea agreement with the state.
He pleaded guilty to being an accomplice for the criminal syndicate after he falsified financial records for which he received millions. He has since agreed to turn state witness.
The pair are expected to be added to the long list of accused people that includes former executives at the bank. The list includes:
- Tshifhiwa Matodzi, former Vele Investment chairperson;
- Andile Ramavhunga, the former CEO;
- Phophi Mukhodobwane, the former treasurer;
- Sipho Malaba, who was an auditor at KPMG;
- Lt-Gen Avhashoni Ramikosi, who was a non-executive director; as well as
- Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, both of whom were representing the Public Investment Corporation as non-executive directors on the board.