Two CFOs among those arrested for VBS theft

On Wednesday morning, eight men were arrested in connection with the R2.7 billion theft at VBS Mutual Bank.

Former VBS CFO Philip Truter and a former non-executive director of VBS, chair of the audit committee and SAPS CFO Avhashoni Ramikosi were among the eight men arrested in connection with the theft of R2.7 billion from VBS Mutual Bank. They were arrested in simultaneous raids in Gauteng and Limpopo.

Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya announced that the men who were suspected of money laundering and fraud were expected to appear in court on Thursday 18 June, with the exception of one accused, who is under quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.

The additional men arrested were:

  • Tshifhiwa Matodzi, chairman of VBS and Vele Investments 
  • Phobia Mukhodobwane, VBS treasurer
  • Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, non-executive directors of VBS and nominees of the PIC
  • Sipho Malaba, KPMG auditor, and
  • Andile Ramavhunga, CEO and executive director of VBS

VBS, a black-owned financial institution, was in the headlines in 2016 as customers claimed that they were unable to withdraw their funds, in the same year that then-President Jacob Zuma secured a R7 million loan from the institution to pay back the money for the Nklandla upgrades.

Two years later, the news broke that billions had been fleeced from the bank, and it was placed under curatorship by SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago. An in-depth investigation followed, and in Advocate Terry Motau’s subsequent report, 53 people were implicated in the fraud amounting to nearly R2 billion.

Wednesday’s arrests were the culmination of the ongoing investigation. “The investigation has revealed that the eight men who are the suspects either unduly indirectly or directly benefited from R122 million,” says Lebeya.