More charges, more accused to be added in VBS case

Trial postponed to January 26

Seven suspects arrested in connection with the multibillion rand VBS heist appeared in the Palm Ridge Regional Court on October 8 2020.
Seven suspects arrested in connection with the multibillion rand VBS heist appeared in the Palm Ridge Regional Court on October 8 2020.
Image: ALON SKUY

The case of seven people arrested in connection with the plundering of VBS Mutual Bank was postponed on Thursday to January 26 next year.

The seven men were making their second appearance at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court after their first appearance in June.

On Wednesday, their former co-accused, ex-VBS Bank CFO Philip Truter, reached a plea and sentence agreement with the state, which saw him being sentenced to an effective seven-year jail term after pleading guilty to six counts, including corruption and fraud.

The remaining accused are:

  • former VBS Mutual Bank and Vele Investments chair Tshifhiwa Calvin Matodzi;
  • former VBS Mutual Bank CEO Andile Ramavhunga;
  • former VBS treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane;
  • former KPMG partner Sipho Malaba;
  • former police officer Avashoni Ramikosi; and
  • former Public Investment Corporation executives Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula.

Prosecutor Hein van der Merwe told the court that the reason the state sought a postponement was to amend the indictment to add additional charges and more accused.

Van der Merwe said the state foresaw that by the next date, the additional accused would have been added, the indictment finalised and trial date set.

Magistrate Jeremy Janse van Vuuren granted the postponement.

The seven were provided with the indictment during their first appearance in June.

The indictment sets out a raft of charges the men are facing, including money laundering, theft, fraud and corruption.

In that indictment, Matodzi is accused of bribing all his co-accused and offering gratification in order to influence them “to act in a manner that amounts to the illegal, dishonest, unauthorised, incomplete, or biased exercise, carrying out or performance of any powers, duties or functions arising out of a statutory, contractual or any other legal obligation”.

TimesLIVE


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