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VBS Case Postponed To Add More Charges

Seven people arrested in connection with the VBS mutual bank heist appeared at the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court on Thursday.

The suspects 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.

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

Matodzi is believed to be the kingpin of the scheme that robbed pensioners and cash-strapped municipalities of their money.

The state requested a postponement to January 2021 in order to add further charges to the charge sheet.

State advocate Hein van der Merwe said the state foresees there will be more arrests before the return to court.

Van der Merwe said the seven counts of theft, corruption, money-laundering, fraud and racketeering remain for the accused.

He said the state intends on disclosing the docket to the accused before the end of the year.
Earlier this year, all seven accused indicated they would plead not guilty.

On Wednesday, the court sentenced former CFO Phillip Truter to seven years in prison.

Truter pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

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.

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