VBS fraud case: More charges and accused to be added, prosecution says

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VBS Mutual Bank looting suspects appear at Palm Ridge Regional Court on 47 counts of fraud, racketeering, corruption, theft and money laundering.
VBS Mutual Bank looting suspects appear at Palm Ridge Regional Court on 47 counts of fraud, racketeering, corruption, theft and money laundering.
OJ Koloti, Gallo Images
  • Seven men facing charges of fraud, theft, money laundering, corruption and racketeering in the widely publicised VBS Mutual Bank fraud case have appeared in court.
  • The matter has been postponed for the State to amend the indictment by adding more charges and accused.
  • The seven men previously said they were innocent and pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges against them.

The case of seven men accused of stealing billions in one of the country's most widely publicised looting scandals, has been postponed to next year.

Prosecutor Heins van der Merwe said the State needed to amend the indictment to include additional charges and accused.

The men's appearance on Thursday in the Commercial Crimes Court, sitting in Palm Ridge, was brief. They face charges of fraud, theft, money laundering, corruption and racketeering.

READ | UPDATE: VBS fraud case much stronger after former CFO's guilty plea, says Hawks, NPA

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.

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 each of them pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are out on bail. 

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

READ| VBS fraud case: Here's what the State's 'ace witness' Phillip Truter admitted to

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

The rest of the accused are expected to appear in court again on 26 January 2021.

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