The men who would have marked millions …
A quick recap of the people involved in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
Tshifhiwa Matodzi was singled out by Terry Motau and Werksmans, in their forensic report, as the backbone of the scam that stole VBS. Matodzi ordered and orchestrated the flow of over 325 million Rand of VBS money to businesses and people associated with him. He used multiple fronts to hide his role, Motau discovered. He chaired both VBS and a company called Vele Investments, which got the controlling stake in VBS through a scam, Motau found out. Matodzi flatly denied any wrongdoing, but WhatsApps and the internal documents Scorpio saw show how Matodzi ordered his co-defendant to distribute VBS money to businesses and individuals, organized through a secret WhatsApp group named “Black Ops”. Matodzi bought a helicopter and a Ferrari with his VBS riches.
Robert Madzonga (53), former COO of VBS and CEO of Vele Investments, is a Chartered Lawyer with over 23 years of experience. The NPA alleges that approximately R34.5 million in cash and loans were channeled to it through its fronts, on instructions from Matodzi and Madzonga himself.
The crux of Madzonga’s defense in a 2019 receivership proceeding was that he knew nothing about the fraud scheme or the financial situation of VBS or that of Vele.
He claimed he did not knowingly profit from the VBS fraud. The court found this unlikely.
Madzonga’s ethics have already been questioned, in his role as COO of MTN. A PwC report mentioned this specifically in connection with corruption at the mobile phone giant.
Motau found that none of Madzonga’s 2017-2018 income had been reported to SARS.
Solly Maposa (49) is the former Managing Director of VBS for Retail, with control of some banking systems. The indictment alleges that he received a cumulative amount of R38.5 million in benefits, loans and cash. Some cash payments are said to have been made from Matodzi to accounts controlled by Maposa. These payments were reportedly made on the instructions of Matodzi, Ramavhunga and Mukhodobwane.
Motau discovered that Maposa played an important role. He testified before Motau about the use of numerous bank accounts as “slush funds” to distribute the loot.
Former VBS Executive Director and CEO Andile Ramavhunga has firmly denied his involvement in the VBS crimes. Still, he received 28.9 million rand, which he described as “advisory fees”. Motau described the evidence against him as overwhelming. His finances suggest that Ramavhunga bought a Land Rover, a Mercedes-Benz, and a lot of fast food outlets with his VBS riches. He also funneled millions in cash to a private account.
Together with his co-accused, the former treasurer of the VBS bank Phophi Mukhodobwane acted on Matodzi’s instructions. Matodzi ordered him to pay millions to the front company of EFF executives Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, adding that it was “lobbying fees” and that the account was “extremely strategic”. He allowed more than R30.5 million in cash and bank facilities to flow to shell companies and people related to him. He bought a new Porsche Cayenne GTS through a shell company, Lemawave (Pty) Ltd, operated by his brother.
The state claims that Mukhodobwane received at least R17 million in VBS money. Motau discovered that Mukhodobwane had received at least R30 million free of charge in vehicle finance, mortgage bonds and cash.
Philip Truter, the bank’s chief financial officer (CFO), was responsible for the financial and risk management of VBS. Motau discovered that, under Truter’s watch, the bank had been broken into and bankrupted. About R 2.7 billion in poor people’s stokvels and money from municipalities was funneled to bankers, auditors, lawyers, politicians and businessmen, liquidator Anoosh Rooplal later found. Truter has entered into a plea bargain with the NPA and will testify against his co-accused in the upcoming R2 billion alleged fraud case.
No more fixatives
The five fixers, according to the NPA, sought deposits from various municipalities and public entities. They were reportedly rewarded with large cash payments and advantageous or illegal loan arrangements. The most prolific fixer, businessman Kabelo Matsepe (29), appears to be the link between some municipalities and ANC Limpopo leader Danny Msiza, the indictment said.
SARS informed Matsepe that he allegedly intentionally evaded tax and would claim R61 million in unpaid and unreported tax and seek receivership. The High Court ruled in favor of SARS.
Matsepe is linked to Danny Msiza, who received R35.4million allegedly stolen from VBS. Matsepe’s version is that the money was “commissions” to link municipalities to the bank. Items on his shopping list were a Range Rover and a R5.5million house at Midstream Estate, Centurion.
Danny Msiza (53) used Matsepe as a front, according to the NPA. Msiza won a brief victory when the High Court overturned the findings against him in Motau’s report because Msiza did not have a chance to give his side of the story.
Msiza can now explain, in court, that the money is flowing into accounts linked to her. He was forced to step down as treasurer of ANC Limpopo.
Ralliom Razwinane (39) linked the Free State Development Corporation, the Community Schemes Ombud Service and municipalities to VBS. The NPA alleges that Razwinane received around R7 million in various accounts for his part in the looting of VBS.
Takunda Edgar Mucheke (37) describes himself as the Director of Investments at TNE Advisory Services and a Chartered Accountant. The NPA claims he was paid 7 million Rand in VBS loot; he sent 3.38 million rand to a company controlled by his fellow fixer Tshianeo Madadzhe (37). DM168
This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 which is available for R25 from Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest dealer, please click here.