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NPA ‘not surprised’ by VBS accused's not guilty claim

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the prosecuting authority was ready to go to trial to prove what their investigations have revealed.

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 it was not surprising that seven of the eight VBS accused who appeared in court claimed that they were not guilty.

Spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said that the prosecuting authority was ready to go to trial to prove what their investigations have revealed.

The indictment paints a picture of systematic and coordinated looting at VBS of the nearly R2.7 billion.

From accused number one, the former chairperson of VBS Mutual Bank Tshifhiwa Matodzi, to accused number eight Paul Magula, all are accused of walking away with substantial amounts.

But none of the seven men who appeared at the Palm Ridge Regional Court said that they knew anything.

WATCH: VBS bank heist suspects 'can't claim poverty' in bail application - judge

However, NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema was expecting that: “We are content that we are ready to start and go on trial. Almost all accused persons in cases, that’s how they plead, they plead not guilty.”

In their bail applications, the accused said they didn’t know any witnesses and even if they did, they wouldn’t interfere with investigations.

Ngwema said the NPA was ready for these accused and all others who would be implicated at a later stage: “We are biting this big elephant in chunks. So from this, we’ll move to other legs, but we are now in motion and we are dealing with the entire case.”

The seven accused who were granted bail said they wanted their day in court to prove their innocence.

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