7 VBS Bank collapse suspects due in court today

They were released on R100,000 bail each when they first appeared three months ago.

Seven suspects arrested in connection with the multibillion rand VBS heist appeared in the Palm Ridge Regional Court on 18 June 2020. They are: (top row, from left to right) Tshifhiwa Matodzi, Andile Ramavhunga, Phophi Mukhodobwane, (bottom row from left to right) Sipho Malaba, Avhashoni Ramikosi, Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The seven other VBS Mutual Bank accused are expected to appear at the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday after CFO Phillip Truter pleaded guilty and turned State witness.

They were released on R100,000 bail each when they first appeared three months ago.

The 9th accused, former Merafong City Local Municipality CFO Mattheys Wienekus, was expected to conclude his plea deal by December.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed Truter’s conviction and his decision to assist the State, but it was still an uphill battle because the alleged masterminds of the VBS saga said they were not guilty and they intended to defend themselves.

They are former board chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, former CEO Andile Ramavhunga, former treasurer Phopho Mukhondobwane, former KPMG partner Sipho Malaba, and former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) executives Ernest Nasane and Paul Magula, and non-executive director Avhashoni Ramikosi.

Meanwhile, Wienekus, who was CFO when Merafong Municipality deposited R50 million with VBS even though it was illegal, was yet to plead.

Merafong was one of 20 municipalities that deposited money with the now-defunct bank.

They face 47 charges of theft, fraud, money laundering, and racketeering.

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