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Hawks: Probe into VBS Bank ‘looting’ in full swing

But the National Prosecuting Authority says the probe is not yet at a stage to determine who should be prosecuted.

VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Hawks say its investigation into looting at VBS Mutual Bank is in full swing and it's investigating a host of related crimes.

But the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the probe is not yet at a stage to determine who should be prosecuted.

The Hawks and the NPA have on Wednesday appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance to discuss progress made on pursuing those who stole almost R2 billion from the bank and robbed the poor of millions.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit says it has not yet seized any assets of those implicated in a Reserve Bank report on the collapse of VBS Bank. But curators have already secured the provisional sequestration of five executives and shareholders.

Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya says a team of 10 investigators has collected 65 statements of evidence to build a case.

NPA acting head Silas Ramaite says five prosecutors are seized with the VBS investigation.

“There has been a lot of focus on the fraud and the theft which is quite true, but the issue is much bigger than that from a prosecutions point of view. It is, in fact, racketeering, at its worst.”

He says the VBS investigation is a complex one, and it could be quite some time before there will be any prosecutions.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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