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Fate of people implicated in VBS Bank ‘heist’ remains unclear

A report by the South African Reserve Bank titled ‘The Great Bank Heist’ details how R1.8 billion was brazenly stolen from the VBS Mutual Bank.

FILE: Picture: VBS Mutual Bank Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Amid calls for greater accountability and swift prosecutions in the VBS Mutual Bank fraud scandal, it remains unclear when, or even if, those implicated will face the music.

The Limpopo-based bank has been thrust back into the spotlight with revelations of extensive looting involving the bank’s executives, high-profile politicians, auditors and the Venda king.

A report by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) titled The Great Bank Heist details how R1.8 billion was brazenly stolen from the bank.

Things have quickly escalated since the release of the report, which reads like something out of a movie.

In the last 24 hours, more revelations linking key politicians have emerged.

The Daily Maverick reported on Thursday morning that out of the R16 million, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother, Brian, received in gratuitous payments from VBS Mutual Bank, about R10 million was funnelled into the EFF deputy president’s bank account while the party itself allegedly received R1.3 million.

The party still hasn’t responded to these claims, but when asked by eNCA to respond to Shivambu’s involvement on Thursday, this is what the party’s chairperson Dali Mpofu said: “I received R20 from my sister on Wednesday, the EFF has not had a discussion about it.”

The EFF is not confirming or denying pocketing some of the cash.

BRIAN SHIVAMBU

At the same time, Brian Shivambu has threatened legal action against those who compiled a report into the criminal scandal at VBS Bank.

He says he’s never received money from bank, and that the closest he’s come to the bank was working with Vele Investments, which was the majority shareholder at the bank.

He says Vele Investments told him that since it banks with VBS, he must open an account with the bank as well to facilitate payments with ease.

So, he contradicts himself and admits that he did receive money from VBS, but his explanation is that receiving money through the bank doesn’t mean it was the bank paying him.

He also complains that those who investigated the corruption at VBS never called him to get his side of the story, saying its unlawful to pass judgement on anyone without granting them an opportunity to state their case.

He says he intends to legally pursue those who compiled the VBS report for defamation of his character and that of his company, as well as the strain the whole saga has put on his family.

In the statement, he doesn’t confirm or deny directly if he funnelled the money to his brother, except to say Floyd is his brother and he has committed to him that he will give him support “which I have done where possible”.

KICKBACKS

Several of the African National Congress (ANC)'S leaders are also involved in the scandal, including the ruling party’s Limpopo treasurer general Danny Msiza and provincial deputy chairperson Florence Radzilani, who have also received kickbacks.

While Luthuli House is promising tough and swift action against all leaders involved, Limpopo ANC secretary Soviet Lekganyane says they are embarrassed.

“If there are words in the dictionary, assist us to gather those words so we can use them to describe our humiliation, our embarrassment, our devastation and how ashamed we are. This thing has a very serious bearing on the image of the African National Congress.”

A meeting of the provincial leaders will take place on Thursday, where a decision on how to deal with the leaders will be taken.

The Reserve Bank’s investigation has recommended criminal and civil proceedings to recover some of the R1.8 billion that was looted from the bank.

The National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku says the prosecuting authority has assigned a number of highly experienced prosecutors to work with the Hawks investigators on the VBS cases.

“We’ve assigned five highly experienced prosecutors from our Specialised Commercial Crime Unit to render the necessary guidance to the Hawks investigators and to ensure that the matter is investigated within the framework of the rule of law.”

LISTEN: VBS probe receiving ‘serious attention’ - Hawks

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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