VBS heist: Pre-trial hearing postponed as accused appoint new defence teams

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Danny Msiza appeared with 13 other accused in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on Friday.
Danny Msiza appeared with 13 other accused in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on Friday.
OJ Koloti, Gallo Images
  • The pretrial conference of the 14 men accused of being behind the looting of the VBS bank has been postponed.
  • The court heard that a number of the accused appointed new legal teams.
  • These defence teams now need time to go through the 62 000-page docket.

The pre-trial hearing in the VBS Mutual Bank criminal trial was delayed on Monday after a number of the accused appointed new legal representatives over the weekend.

Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza and his 13 co-accused appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday. 

READ | VBS indictment lifts lid on Danny Msiza's money machine

State prosecutor Hein van der Merwe said that, while the matter was set down to ensure that defence teams were properly instructed and that the matter was trial ready, the pre-trial conference would have to be postponed. 

Van der Merwe placed it on record that several of the accused had changed legal representatives after the matter was transferred to the High Court, and that a number of those changes had happened over the weekend. 

As a result, the new legal teams were not in possession of the 62 000-page docket. 

The court also heard that one of the accused intends making further representations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions. 

The matter was postponed to 12 October.  

READ | VBS loot: Three more former officials from Gauteng municipalities to appear in court

Crimes 

News24 previously reported that the accused were charged with theft, fraud, money laundering, corruption, racketeering, and contraventions of provisions in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca).

It is alleged that they looted more than R2 billion from the now defunct bank between 2015 and 2018.

In 2020, one of the accused in the matter, former VBS CFO Philip Truter, pleaded guilty in a plea bargain and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.


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