UPDATE | VBS Mutual Bank: 7 in custody after early morning Hawks raids

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Hawks have made more arrests in the VBS matter.
Hawks have made more arrests in the VBS matter.
Felix Dlangamandla/Gallo Images
  • The Hawks have arrested a total of seven people in early morning raids in connection with the looting of VBS Mutual Bank. 
  • They were arrested at various places in Gauteng and Limpopo.
  • They will be charged with theft, fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

Seven people are in custody in connection with VBS Mutual Bank looting allegations, following early morning raids by the Hawks on Thursday.

The Hawks conducted the raids at various places in Gauteng and Limpopo. Some people handed themselves over. They are expected to be charged with theft, fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering, and are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

"The arrested suspects include a managing director of VBS [who was] responsible for retail; a former chief operating officer of VBS and chief executive officer of Vele Investments; four commission agents and an office bearer of a political party in Limpopo," Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale said in a statement. 

ANC treasurer in Limpopo, Danny Msiza, and former provincial Youth League leader Kabelo Matsepe are believed to be among the group of people in custody.

Limpopo ANC members who are aware of the matter told News24 that Msiza was part of the group and Matsepe's lawyer, Ulrich Kruger, confirmed to News24 that his client was among those who were expected to appear in court on Friday.

READ | VBS-linked Limpopo leaders Florence Radzilani and Danny Msiza back at work

amaBhungane previously reported that Matsepe allegedly served as a proxy for Msiza.

"Their constant intermediation between VBS and municipalities is amply documented in WhatsApp messages that emerged in court proceedings," the publication reported.

Mogale also said an employee of the Collins Chabane Local Municipality in Limpopo had been arrested.

Funds

"The suspect is arrested on a separate case which is related to the investments of municipality funds into the VBS. The suspect is alleged to have contravened the Municipal Finance Management Act, as well as corruption and money laundering," Mogale said.

In January, seven accused in the VBS Mutual Bank fraud case appeared in court and the matter was postponed to add additional accused and charges "emanating from new information available to the State", News24 reported at the time.

ALSO READ | Hawks, NPA should be praised for VBS arrests. Now comes their biggest challenge

Among the accused are former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, who was described as the alleged "kingpin" of the looting scheme, VBS CEO Andile Ramavhunga, former VBS treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane, and former non-executive VBS board members, Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula.

The VBS accused in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Palm Ridge in a previous appearance.

Former KPMG engagement partner Sipho Malaba and Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi, the former chief financial officer of the South African Police Service, are co-accused.

They previously told the court that they were innocent and pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are out on bail. 

An eighth accused, former VBS chief financial officer Philip Truter, pleaded guilty to several charges against him, including racketeering fraud, corruption, money laundering and the contravention of tax laws.

He was sentenced to an effective seven years in prison. He has also cooperated with the State, submitted an affidavit, and is expected to testify on behalf of the State in the main trial.

- Additional reporting by Russel Molefe

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