VBS Mutual Bank.
Date: 09 July 2018 By: Anton van Zyl
In an urgent application filed in the High Court on Friday, the curator of VBS Mutual Bank asked that the estates of five of the bank’s former top officials be sequestrated. The curator also asked for the liquidation of the bank’s biggest shareholder, Vele Investments.
In affidavits filed in court, more information has surfaced detailing the manner in which funds were allegedly syphoned to directors of Vele Investments and top officials. The affidavits also detail how bribes were allegedly paid to officials of, among others, the PIC and Prasa, to supposedly get these organisations to pump more money into a cash-strapped VBS Mutual Bank.
On Friday the curator of VBS Mutual Bank, SizweNtsalubaGobodo Advisory Services, filed papers in the High Court asking it to urgently act and protect the assets of the bank’s creditors. Apart from Vele Investments, applications have been brought against a further five individuals, being Tshifhiwa Calvin Matodzi, (former chairman of VBS Mutual Bank), Andile Ramavhunga (former CEO of VBS Mutual Bank), Philippus Truter (former CFO of VBS Mutual Bank), Phopi Mukhodobwane (general head of Treasury and Capital Management) and Robert Madzonga (former COO of VBS Mutual Bank) for the sequestration of their estates.
According to a press release issued by the curator, its representative, Mr Anoosh Rooplal, recommended to the SA Reserve Bank in April this year that a forensic investigation into the affairs of VBS Mutual Bank be conducted. Adv T Motau was appointed as an investigator and he reported back to the SARB who in turn informed the Curator. “After an examination and a careful analysis of the information, the Curator has initiated the civil legal proceedings. The forensic investigation is still on-going,” the Curator announced on Friday.
The past weekend more revelations about the somewhat shady dealings at VBS Mutual Bank were reported in newspapers. It was reported that the bank’s head of Treasury and Capital Management, Phopi Mukhodobwane filed an affidavit in which he “blows the lid” on how just over R1,5-billion was used by Vele Investment to buy subsidiary companies, pay lucrative bonuses and fund lavish lifestyles. Mukhodobwane alleges that millions were used to pay bribes to officials to encourage them to pump more money into the bank. The names of ANC Youth League members as well as a prominent Limpopo politician are mentioned as people who acted as “agents” to convince municipalities to deposit funds with VBS.
In Whatsapp messages and on social media the past weekend, several “more” revelations were made. The net spreads wider with more high-ranking officials at the bank being mentioned. A senior manager at VBS allegedly arranged a bank overdraft of R4-million. The money was then used to buy a house in Vereeniging, buy a luxury vehicle and build houses at Maniini which he rents out. The accusation was that he lives a life of luxury way beyond what he earns at the bank.
The curator of the bank last week announced that the National Treasury has agreed to guarantee retail deposits up to R100 000 per retail depositor, which comprises of individuals, burial societies and stokvels, of their funds held in the bank. This is an increase from the previous R50 000 guarantee.
“All home, vehicle and personal loan account contracts with VBS Mutual Bank are still valid and enforceable. Customers are required to continue to pay monthly instalments as per the agreed contracts,” the Curator said.
Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror for over 27 years. He graduated at the the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.