Finance minister demands consequences for VBS 'bank heist'

 Tito Mboweni, takes his oath of office after being appointed minister of finance on October 9, 2018, at the Tuynhuys parliament compound in Cape Town.(Rodger Bosch / AFP)
Tito Mboweni, takes his oath of office after being appointed minister of finance on October 9, 2018, at the Tuynhuys parliament compound in Cape Town.(Rodger Bosch / AFP)

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni used his first appearance before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance to slam auditors and politicians said to have capitalised on the failure of auditors and regulators to keep VBS Mutual Bank in check before its eventual undoing.

Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu, also a member of the committee, is just the latest person to be fingered with benefiting from transactions which plunged the mutual bank into a curatorship process.

In recent reports, Shivambu is accused of receiving R10m from the bank through his brother Brian. Shivambu has rejected all accusations against him. Various municipalities were left exposed in the wake of VBS’s woes as they deposited with the mutual bank.

Mboweni did not mince his words when it came to demanding accountability from those who were involved in the course of events which is now being termed “the great bank heist”.

“The only thing regulators can hope for is that law enforcement agencies move with speed to deal with this bank robbery. The political parties have to move with speed to deal with any of their members who are found wanting in this particular situation,” said Mboweni.

Mboweni also blamed auditors and the regulatory environment for not catching on to the state of VBS sooner.

“The central bank has the capacity for something we call on sight inspection. We can do on sight inspection of all financial institutions all the time. In this case I think we have failed. External auditors were clearly in cahoots with others as part of this heist,” Mboweni said.

“The central bank should bear in mind what they can do in terms of inspecting small guys. When you have a large auditing firm failing us in the way that that one has, it is a matter of serious concern,” he said.

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