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VBS Bank saga: Mboweni calls for speedy action by law enforcement agencies

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says law enforcement agencies must move rapidly against those implicated, while political parties should also look to those members who have been implicated.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - New Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has urged speedy action on the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.

He says law enforcement agencies must move rapidly against those implicated, while political parties should also look to those members who have been implicated.

Mboweni made a brief appearance at Parliament’s Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday morning, where Treasury and the South African Revenue Service were briefing on their annual reports.

Sworn in just last week, Mboweni is set to deliver the medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament next Wednesday.

The finance minister says he expects he will have a lot more to say about the looting of VBS Mutual Bank when he delivers the budget policy statement next week.

But he’s told MPs there should be no delays in criminal charges being investigated against those fingered in advocate Terry Motau’s explosive forensic report.

“The thing that regulators can really hope for is that the law enforcement agencies move with speed to deal with the perpetrators of this bank robbery. With speed. No dilly-dallying. They must move with speed because we need to assure the public that we take their deposits very seriously and securely.”

Mboweni says political parties must also act urgently to deal with any of their members who are found wanting.

This was a reference to senior African National Congress officials being implicated in the VBS 'heist' and reports that the Economic Freedom Fighters’ second in command Floyd Shivambu received millions by way of his brother Brian – something he’s strongly denied.

Shivambu was not at Tuesday’s meeting although he’s a member of the Finance Committee.

'AUDITORS FAILED'

Mboweni has hit out over the failure of internal and external auditors involved in the bank scandal.

He's recommended that small banks should also be submitted to on-site inspections by the Reserve Bank in future.

Speaking as a former Governor of the Reserve Bank, the finance minister says the Reserve Bank should consider on-site inspections at smaller banks.

“A huge amount of trust is put on the internal and external auditors of the banks. There is no way in which the staff at the Central Bank would be everywhere, every time, all the time.”

He also had harsh words for VBS Bank’s auditors: “In this case, I think we were failed by both the internal auditors – clearly in cahoots with management – and the external auditors.”

Mboweni did not name KPMG but said the failure by VBS Bank’s external auditors was a matter for “serious” concern.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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