Hawks, NPA Identifies 8 Suspects in VBS Fraud and Money Laundering Saga

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Eight suspects were identified in the investigation into the fraud and money laundering at the Venda Building Society Mutual Bank (VBS).

On Wednesday, the National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya and National Director of Public Prosecution Advocate, Shamila Batohi, released a joint statement to announce progress in the case.

Lt-Gen Lebeya says the Hawks underwent a search operation across 10 different areas around the Gauteng and Limpopo provinces. Four suspects were arrested while three of the suspects were expected to hand themselves over. One of the suspects will be taken in after they complete their Covid-19 quarantine process.

These are the first arrests made since it was revealed that in March 2018 money, totalling two billion two hundred and ninety-six million five hundred and ninety-nine thousand and eight rand (R2 296 599 008), was missing at VBS. This was after the VBS board of directors approved financial statements that reflected it to be in a good financial position, while it was actually insolvent.

“The investigation has revealed that the ten men who are the suspects either unduly directly or indirectly, benefitted at least R122 287 863 which was not due,” the statement reads.

According to the Daily Maverick, the arrested includes:

  • Chairman of VBS and Vele Investments, Tshifhiwa Matodzi
  • VBS Treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane
  • VBS CFO Philip Truter
  • Non-executive directors of VBS and nominees of the PIC Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula
  • KPMG auditor Sipho Malaba
  • CEO and Executive Director of VBS Andile Ramavhunga
  • VBS non-executive director and chair of the bank’s audit committee, Lieutenant-General Avhsahoni Ramikosi.

Each suspect will be charged with 47 counts of different offences.

“These are 5 counts of Patterns of Racketeering Activities in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998,12 counts of theft, 7 counts of fraud, 15 counts of corruption in contravention of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004, 7 counts of money laundering (POCA),” the statement says.

The suspects are expected to appear in the Palmridge Regional Court on Thursday.