A provisional report, released by the South African Reserve Bank on Wednesday, into the large-scale looting at VBS Mutual Bank reveals that a cash sum of R5 million was stolen from the bank, allegedly to bribe Public Investment Corporation chief executive Dr Dan Matjila.
During his cross examination by investigators, the bank’s former head of Treasury Phophi Mukhodobwane testified that in April last year the bank’s former chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi had ordered him to fetch R5 million from the bank’s Makhado branch.
The report said “Mukhodobwane was directed by Matodzi to take the cash by helicopter from Makhado to Lanseria airport where he was met by Matodzi. Upon his arrival at Lanseria, Mukhodobwane asked Matodzi what the money was for and Matodzi responded that the money was required to be paid to ‘Dr Dan’ to obtain his cooperation in facilitating the funding of VBS’ requirements by the PIC. “Mukhodobwane understood that as a reference to the chief executive of the PIC.”
However, Mukhodobwane told investigators that he was unaware of whether or not the R5 million was indeed paid to “Dr Dan” by Matodzi as the R2 billion line of funding was not forthcoming from the PIC.
During the cross examination, Mukhodobwane speculated that Matodzi might have lied to him about the purpose of the R5 million, and that Matodzi may have required, and used the cash, for his own purposes.
The report, The Great Bank Heist, was completed by Advocate Terry Motau, who was assisted by Werksmans Attorneys.
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Motau said he could not make any findings on the matter and that it warranted investigations by authorities.
“I trust … arrests will be made,” Motau said in the report.
R2 billion was stolen from VBS Mutual Bank
VBS was placed under curatorship on March 11 of this year against a backdrop of a serious liquidity crisis at the bank.
“The initial findings of the curator revealed significant financial losses in VBS, which prompted the decision to institute a forensic investigation,” the Reserve Bank said in a statement.
The primary objectives of the forensic investigation were to establish whether:
1. Any of VBS’s business was conducted with the intent to defraud depositors and/or any other creditors of the mutual bank, or for any other fraudulent purpose;
2. VBS’s business conduct involved any questionable and/or reckless business practices and/or material non-disclosure, with or without the intent to defraud depositors and/or any other creditors; and
3. There had been any irregular conduct by VBS’s shareholders, directors, executive management, staff, stakeholders and/or related parties.
“The Reserve Bank has handed over a copy of the report, as well as all the detailed interviews and annexures, to the law enforcement authorities for further investigation. These interviews and annexures will not be released to the public at this stage, as this could compromise any criminal investigation,” the bank said.
“The report may assist the law enforcement authorities in its investigation into the affairs of VBS. Once their investigations have been concluded, the authorities may decide to institute criminal prosecutions. The courts will be the final adjudicator in this regard,” the reserve bank said.
A copy of the report has also been provided to the Acting Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service Mark Kingon, the Reserve Bank said.