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Vhavenda king: I will return VBS money if illegality proven

Vhavenda King Toni Ramabulana was named in the South African Reserve Bank report titled The Great Bank Heist as having received over R17 million in gratuitous payments from the Limpopo-based bank.

FILE: Vhavenda king Toni Mphephu Ramabulana. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Vhavenda King Toni Ramabulana has offered to pay back the money he received from the VBS Mutual Bank if it has been proven that the cash was given to him illegally.

The king was named in the South African Reserve Bank report titled The Great Bank Heist as having received over R17 million in gratuitous payments from the Limpopo-based bank.

The report, which reveals how more than R1.8 billion was looted and it also implicates politicians, the bank's executives and auditing firm KPMG.

In a statement, the Vhavenda king says the report does not find that he was part of any criminal enterprise.

He says the author of the report, Advocate Terry Motau has not treated him fairly in terms of the Natural Justice Act and did not give him any chance to tell his side of the story.

He also says as a king, he received all sorts of financial support from government and other entities and would have received money without knowledge of the criminal wrongdoing which the report identifies.

The king has offered to repay any money received through illegal means.

KING 'EMBARRASSED' BY VBS SCANDAL

The King says he is embarrassed by the scandal and is willing to do whatever it takes to minimise the damage caused by the heist.

He also says he is willing to work with the National Prosecuting Authority, VBS Bank curators and all relevant law enforcement agencies to try put the matter to bed.

His spokesperson Mathivha Makonde said: “The king feels very embarrassed by what happened, and he feels for them. He wants to be with them in doing whatever needs to be done to correct the damage.”

He says as far as Ramabulana was concerned, the gifts and money were given voluntarily.

“He did not have to ask them about the source of the money, he thought it was a bona fide gift.”

The king also says those responsible for the looting must be held accountable and the money must be returned.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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