The implosion of VBS Mutual Bank and the uncovering of the epic fraud that caused it has dominated headlines throughout 2018.
City Press’ coverage has led the field from the beginning.
Here is how the scandal unfolded in our pages:
1. VBS goes bust (11 March 2018)
City Press broke the news that VBS was broke and about to go into curatorship. At this point no one knew about the skeletons that were about to come tumbling out of the closet.
Read: VBS Bank at risk of going bust
2. Questions about VBS’ books (18 March 2018)
Shortly after VBS got put into curatorship, City Press raised red flags around the tiny bank’s statutory reports to the South African Reserve Bank being obviously inaccurate.
Read: VBS silent on municipal deposits in its reports to SARB
3. Dodgy buyers emerge (1 April 2018)
It wasn’t long before vultures started circling, but it turned out a consortium offering to buy VBS was not all it claimed to be
Read: VBS bank’s alleged suitors are not all they say
4. The VBS bonanza is revealed (29 April)
City Press did some digging and started finding VBS connections to all sorts of people, including ANC Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza long before any official investigation
Read: VBS Bank ‘related-party’ loans bonanza
5. The epic fraud is uncovered (24 June 2018)
City Press pieced together reams of leaked documents to reveal the true reason VBS crashed – epic misapproriation of depositors’ money to fund the larger group of companies owned by Vele Investments
Read: How VBS Mutual Bank was plundered
6. Bribery network is revealed (8 July 2018)
The first outcomes of the official investigation into the affairs of VBS were revealed in an explosive affidavit by curator Anoosh Rooplal
Read: VBS ‘paid bribes to PIC, Prasa officials’
7. Corrupt PIC men fingered (16 July 2018)
A City Press investigation showed not only who got paid off by VBS, but also how.
An analysis of bank records and some sleuthing around company records showed how the Public Investment Corporation’s two representatives at VBS were being paid to look the other way.
Read: How PIC men got paid
8. VBS bosses’ conflicts emerge (22 July 2018)
By mid-July the major roleplayers at VBS were starting to put forward their version while more details about the alleged bribes to PIC executives emerged
Read: VBS CEO: I knew nothing, I heard nothing
Read: VBS investigators are bullies: ‘Whistleblower’ cries racism, abuse
9. Political ties become clear (5 August 2018)
New evidence exclusively reported on by City Press showed that the looters of VBS saw themselves as tied to the Zuma faction of the ANC with a VBS boss testifying that a victory for the NDZ group at the ANC’s elective conference was considered key to scoring the biggest deposit for VBS yet – R1 billion or more from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
Read: VBS’ R1bn gamble: We were counting on Dlamini-Zuma to win
10. VBS’ international links revealed: Angola (5 August 2018)
City Press revealed in August that one of the investors that got taken for a ride by VBS and its “agents” was none other than controversial Angolan billionaire Alvaro Sobrinho who put up R144 million and wanted to create a new VBS joint venture.
His money is gone and his lawyers are looking for it.
Read: VBS scandal goes global
11. More international VBS links: Namibia
A story that garnered little attention in South Africa was the collapse of Namibia’s SME Bank – a small lender with a lot in common with VBS.
It turns out the bank collapsed after a nearly R200 million investment in VBS went missing. Efforts to recover this money and figure out who actually stole it are ongoing
Read: Namibian ‘VBS’ cash frozen
Read: How VBS scheme broke Namibian bank
12. We warned you (21 October 2018)
As VBS cricled the drain and faced liquidation after the end of its curatorship, one of the small shareholders in the bank came forward claiming it could all have been avoided.
Businessman David Mabilu had raised red flags at the Reserve Bank long before VBS collapsed, he told City Press.
Read: ‘I told the central bank about VBS’
13. Fallout for related companies (28 October 2018)
One of the companies that was bought up by Vele using stolen VBS money was subsequently sold to Patrice Motsepe, but its boss says the stink of VBS makes it impossible for people to trust them.
Read: VBS Bank ‘broke our back’
14. Municipal fallout continues (31 October 2018)
The main victims of the VBS looting were poor municipalities that sunk millions into the bank and now face financial crises.
One of them, West Rand District Municipality, is now unable to pay salaries.
Read: Municipality that lost R77m to VBS fails to pay salaries