Report names former VBS chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi's PA as major beneficiary

14 October 2018 - 00:00 By BONGANI FUZILE

A personal assistant of former VBS chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi, whose companies received payments amounting to more than R60m, has emerged as one of the beneficiaries of the bank "heist".
The Sunday Times can reveal that Takalani Veronica Mmbi bought five companies that benefited from the VBS scandal from the Shelf Company Warehouse in one week in 2016.
In advocate Terry Motau's report for the South African Reserve Bank, "The Great Bank Heist", Mmbi is also linked to a sixth company, which received R8m.
The Shelf Company Warehouse is owned by Christian Gouws, who has previously sold shelf companies to the Gupta family.
The five companies Mmbi bought from Gouws were registered in July 2016 with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, and name Gouws as a director. It is not clear why Mmbi did not remove Gouws's name as a director when she bought the companies.
The amounts received from VBS include: Bonuset (Pty) Ltd, R15.5m;
Bonuspace (Pty) Ltd, R8.9m;
Bonulog (Pty) Ltd, R10.7m;
Bonusec (Pty) Ltd, R10.5m; and
Vanticode, R10m. Mmbi could not be reached for comment. The Sunday Times sent questions to her but she had not responded at the time of going to press.
Motau said in his report that when VBS was placed under curatorship in March, Mmbi participated in the disposal of assets by Matodzi.
"She also spirited away documentary records. She was remunerated richly for her efforts," the report says. Gouws yesterday denied that he was involved with the five companies he sold to Mmbi. "You know my business, I sell shelf companies and people buy them," he said.
"It looks like this one owner has failed to remove my name as a director from all these five companies you said have benefited from this VBS bank. I honestly have nothing to do with this. If one buys a shelf company, that person has to change the directorship.
"It surprises me to appear in these companies as director; I've sold these companies … Unfortunately I can't reveal the name of the [buyer], but they belong to one person," said Gouws.
A person who is helping in the investigation of VBS, who asked not to be identified, said suspicions were aroused by Mmbi's purchase of five companies in a single week.
"You could tell that the person was on a mission. It's not surprising to see that these companies are involved in such scams."
The source said the directors of shelf companies such as those bought from Gouws should be investigated.
"Go to the people's houses you will find the money stashed there. This is dirty money that would have been 'red-flagged' by major banks. It was cashed and stashed somewhere."
The sixth company Mmbi bought from Gouws is Venmont, which received R8m from VBS.
Other companies sold by Gouws that received payments from VBS include Vantifusion, which is owned by Rashaka Zachariah Tshivhase and received R13.1m; Zanocube, which is owned by Makgala Ramotsoenyane and received R16.1m; and Viridesol, which is owned by Sphiwe Afonso Mashaba and received R7m.
Motau, whose report was released this week, said 53 people benefited from "gratuitous" payments from VBS totalling nearly R2bn.
"It is corrupt and rotten to the core. Indeed, there is hardly a person in its employ in any position of authority who is not, in some way or other, complicit," said Motau, adding that criminal charges should be brought.
"The overwhelming evidence that has been gathered, from numerous sources, reveals Matodzi to be the kingpin."

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