Former VBS Mutual Bank chief financial officer (CFO) Phillip Truter was on Wednesday sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering in relation to the looting of the bank.
Truter, who appeared at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court, will effectively spend seven years in jail after three years were suspended.
His admission of guilt is a devastating blow to his co-accused who all pleaded not guilty.
Truter was the eighth suspect arrested in connection with the multi-billion rand heist which destroyed the bank. Other suspects include former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Calvin Matodzi, CEO Andile Ramavhunga, former treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane and former non-executive board members Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula.
The former CFO of the SA Police Service, Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi and former KPMG engagement partner, Sipho Malaba, will appear in the same court on Thursday.
When he made his first appearance in July, Truter indicated that he intended pleading guilty to the charges. He was released on R50 000 bail. He entered a plea agreement with the state, meaning three years will be suspended for five years on condition he does not commit similar crimes in that period.
Prosecutor Hein van der Merwe said Truter had no excuses in law for his actions and admitted he knew that the financial statements of the bank for the year ending March 2017 were inaccurate even though he had claimed they were at the time.
In June, after Truter turned himself in to be prosecuted, City Press revealed that another suspect was former Merafong City CFO Thys Wienekus, one of 20 municipalities that invested money in VBS bank.
Wienekus was arrested in connection with R50 million of the municipality’s money invested with VBS Mutual Bank when he was acting as the CFO.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said Truter had undertaken to cooperate with the state’s case.
“The law enforcement agencies always encourage either whistle-blowers or accused persons who want to come clean to make full, frank, honest and open disclosures about their involvement and ill-gotten gains,” said NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.
The case will continue on Thursday.