South Africa set to prosecute Matodzi, 7 others for biggest bank robbery

Tshifhiwa-Matodzi chairman of VBS-Mutual-Bank arrested
Tshifhiwa-Matodzi chairman of VBS-Mutual-Bank arrested

South African authorities would dock today eight people suspected of illegally siphoning 2.3 billion rand ($133.87 million) from small lender VBS Mutual Bank.

The bank collapsed in 2018 because of the corruption scandal.

According to an online medium, amabhungane.org, the eight suspects were arrested in a coordinated multi-province search and seizure operation by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

L-R Ramavhunga, Truter, Ramikosi and Matodzi

Those arrested include the bank’s former chairperson, Tshifhiwa Matodzi, chief executive, Andile Ramavhunga, treasurer, Phophi Mukhodobwane, and chief financial officer, Philip Truter.

Heavily compromised outsiders were also arrested.

VBS Mutual Board

This includes two former representatives of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to the VBS board, Paul Magula and Ernest Nesane. They allegedly accepted bribes to look the other way.

Godfrey Lebeya, head of South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, said four people were already in custody.

“As soon as all the relevant processes are completed, we will be securing the attendance of the eight suspects in court,” he told a news conference.

The head of the National Prosecuting Authority Shamila Batohi added that they were due to appear in court on Thursday.

She described the heist as “probably the biggest bank robbery in this country.”

Batohi added, “We have an obligation to all South Africans to deliver justice in this matter … It is our duty to the direct victims of corruption.”

Charges included five counts of racketeering, 12 of theft, seven of fraud and 15 of corruption, Lebeya said.

VBS was a little known lender until it gained notoriety in 2016 for providing a 7.8 million rand ($660,000) loan to former president Jacob Zuma to reimburse the state for illegitimate upgrades to his personal home including a swimming pool and amphitheatre.

The money that went missing included cash from sizeable short term deposits by municipalities, and some 50 people were thought to be involved

1 COMMENT

  1. If this fraud had taken place in Nigeria nobody would have been arrested talk less of prosecution. I’m not saying that the EFCC is not putting in its best efforts but many financial criminals are still walking the streets as free men and women.
    Worst of all is the country’s judiciary. A kidnapper who had killed many people was sentenced to just 42 years! Another murderer who was caught with several fresh human parts with 27 chained emaciated human beings found in his village home near Ikirun, Osun state was jailed for THREE (3) years!!! No wonder he killed another person, pastor Ogedengbe shortly after completing his 3 years term in prison.
    Nigeria is now in critical shortage of patriotic people who won’t compromise their calling. We remember with nostalgia people like Dora Akunyili, Justice Oluwa, Olusesan Dipeolu, and a few others.
    Can Nigerian public office holders not emulate the likes of South Africa’s Thuli Madonsella who epitomizes the best qualities demanded of office holders in the society?

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