Merafong Municipality's former acting CFO appears in court for VBS 'bank heist'

Seven VBS suspects appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
Seven VBS suspects appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
OJ Koloti, Gallo Images
  • The Hawks have arrested a ninth person in connection with the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.
  • Mattheys Gerhardus Wienekus was the Merafong Local Municipality's former acting CFO.
  • He appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for the alleged contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. 


The Hawks have made another arrest in connection with the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.

Mattheys Gerhardus Wienekus, who was employed at the Merafong Local Municipality as the Manager: Budget and Treasury until his retirement, was arrested on Thursday morning, Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale confirmed.

Wienekus, 64, appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday after he was subpoenaed on charges of the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 in the ongoing investigation into the bank.

Mogale said investigations revealed that more than 50 million was invested with the bank at the time when Wienekus was the acting chief financial officer at the municipality.  

The Merafong Local Municipality is one of 20 municipalities that invested municipal funds with VBS in alleged contravention of the law.

"I have indicated that the investigations [into] the municipalities are at an advanced stage. This is the beginning and all the other cases are receiving the necessary attention," Hawks head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya said.

The matter has been postponed to 29 July for further investigation.

This is the ninth arrest in the high-profile case.

Last week, Lebeya and National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi, provided an update on an early-morning operation in Gauteng and Limpopo to arrest several people who allegedly accrued R122 million to themselves unduly, directly and indirectly, over several months.

READ | Audit reports show how VBS got its claws into municipalities

Seven of them appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Regional Court, and were each granted R100 000 bail. 

VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, who was described as the alleged "kingpin" of the looting scheme, CEO Andile Ramavhunga, former treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane and former non-executive VBS board members Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, as well as former KPMG engagement partner Sipho Malaba and Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi, the former chief financial officer of the South African Police Service, face 47 charges of fraud, theft, money laundering, corruption and racketeering.

An eighth accused, former VBS chief financial officer Philip Truter, is yet to appear in court. He is in quarantine due to Covid-19 and will need to lodge his own bail application.

Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi previously warned the accused to surrender their passports and to not apply for new ones. He also warned them against interfering with witnesses.

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