Top insiders arrested in VBS bank heist case - racketeering charges added
Nearly two years after the R2,7 billion theft of VBS Mutual Bank funds was exposed, several top VBS insiders, including board members and the chief KPMG auditor for the bank, have been arrested.
The Hawks, together with a team of NPA prosecutors, conducted a massive operation on Wednesday morning.
Included is former VBS and Vele Investments chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the alleged kingpin behind the heist.
The funds stolen represent investments made by local and district municipalities from around the country.
Pensioners' and stokvel accounts held at VBS were also affected.
To tie all of those people in when you are the Hawks and the NPA who have to stand in front of a sceptical judge and say 'we have conducted an ethical investigation and these people are guilty' - it takes time.Pauli van Wyk, Daily Maverick
We also heard that the Hawks wanted to set the arrest in January/February already and then Covid happened...it did take some time, less than two years, but the first eight will now appear in court tomorrow.Pauli van Wyk, Daily Maverick
We have not seen a charge sheet yet but the head of the NPA and the head of the Hawks told us today that there are 47 counts - five counts of racketeering, 12 of theft, seven of fraud, 15 of corruption and 17 of money laundering.Pauli van Wyk, Daily Maverick
Advocate Shamila Batohi signed a racketeering certificate, which is a good sign.
It seems as if they think they have a solid case.
It is a landmark move on the part of the NPA - they've suffered severe criticism for perceived inaction...but when one investigates white collar crime it is complex and there are myriad of financial transactions... the two-year period is not unreasonable.Steven Powell, head - ENSafrica's Forensics Department
We also know this is just the start of the process because the duration...depends on how the accused behave...whether they try and delay and postpone or whether they face the consequences and deal with it...Steven Powell, head - ENSafrica's Forensics Department
The mere act of framing racketeering charges...ups the ante for the suspects significantly because corruption is serious but when it crosses into racketeering, it's organised crime, it's like the gang activity in New York - serious prosecution is going to take place.Steven Powell, head - ENSafrica's Forensics Department
Listen to the interview below.
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