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AFU will deal with reclaiming of assets in VBS matter – NPA

The NPA welcomed the Palm Ridge Regional Court’s decision to slap seven of the eight accused persons with R100,000 bail each on Thursday.

The accused in the VBS Mutual Bank theft scandal appear in the Palm Ridge Regional Court on 18 June 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Thursday said the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was ready to deal with compensation for those who lost money through VBS Mutual Bank.

The NPA welcomed the Palm Ridge Regional Court’s decision to slap seven of the eight accused persons with R100,000 bail each.

It was still unclear if all of them paid the bail by the 4 pm deadline on Thursday, or if any of them would be detained again.

The accused will appear in court again on 8 October.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the prosecution and reclaiming of assets could happen simultaneously.

“We are going to use all the necessary instruments that are available in terms of the law. The AFU is obviously studying the activities [and] following the activities very closely. So, at the appropriate time, they would have to strike and do what they have to do,” Ngwema said.

The seven were charged with defrauding the bank out of more than R122 million.

Overall, an estimated R2.7 billion was taken from the bank, which led to its collapse in 2018.

Former VBS bank chairperson and alleged mastermind, Tshifhiwa Matodzi, former VBS bank CEO Andile Ramavhunga, and former PIC nominee Ernest Nesane, as well as former audit committee chairperson, Lieutenant-General Avhashoni Ramikosi, appealed to the court to set bail at R50,000.

Former treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane, on the other hand, said he could only pay R20,000 for bail. And former KPMG auditor Sipho Malaba said he could only afford R10,000.

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