First Eskom, now VBS: Accountants institute sets its sights on Ramavhunga

2018-07-25 17:02

The South African Institute of Charted Accountants is set to investigate VBS Mutual Bank chief executive Andile Ramavhunga for bringing the profession of chartered accountants into disrepute.

The announcement was made by DA’s shadow minister for finance, Alf Lees, on Wednesday after the party laid a complaint with the institute, citing Ramavhunga’s fiduciary, ethical and professional failure to avert the looting and corruption that occurred under his watch.

“It is absolutely vital not only for this profession but also for general trust in the financial system of South Africa that there are no delays in the investigation into the alleged malfeasance of Mr Ramavhunga in his role as chief executive of VBS Mutual Bank,” said Lees.

The DA laid the complaint following Ramavhunga’s claim last week that he “knew and heard nothing” about the “epic amount of fraud that allegedly sucked R1.5 billion out of the bank” he ran.

Lees challenged this claim saying: “His reasoning that he was not aware of the bank’s dodgy financial affairs is in itself an indictment and an admission of his delinquency.

“Whether or not Ramavhunga, the VBS Bank chief executive, was aware of the seeming grand theft taking place at VBS Bank does not make any difference for poor South Africans who have now been left in the lurch while individuals who apparently corruptly benefited from the proceeds of criminal activities and their families continue to live in the lap of luxury.”

The DA also laid charges of corruption against the ANC on Monday citing concern over the party’s acceptance of a R250 000 donation from VBS Mutual Bank.

The ANC is “used to getting dirty money from the proceeds of crime and corruption to fund its election campaigns,” said DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi.

Malatsi added that should the allegations be true, then other parties might lose the 2019 general elections to the ANC, due to the party’s “corrupt” tendencies.

Lees said the DA only sought a fair outcome for all parties involved: “The DA believes that a thorough investigation will serve to both; clear Mr Ramavhunga’s name if found innocent and to reassure all South Africans that the accountants institute takes strong action against any of its members who fail to act in the utmost ethical and professional way.”

According to Less, the “DA will monitor the progress ... to ensure that this investigation is thorough and is not structured in a way that is intended to let Mr Ramavhunga off the hook,” and that it is “swift and does not drag out for longer than is necessary”.

The institute is also investigating former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh.

The institute will haul Singh before a disciplinary hearing on charges of misconduct.

Singh has been implicated in a number of dodgy deals involving the Guptas during his time at Eskom.

The institute believes that Singh compromised his professional judgment because of bias, conflict of interest or the undue influence of others.

Juniour Khumalo
City Press
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May 19 2019