Hawks , NPA teams already at work on VBS fraud investigation

South Africa

The final investigation report into the R1.8bn fraud at VBS Mutual Bank released on Wednesday cannot be used as evidence to prosecute any individuals, but will act as a guide to prosecutors and police investigators.

This is according to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku as well as Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Advocate Terry Motau was appointed to lead the investigation and his report, titled “The great bank heist”, set out in detail how the collapse of VBS was brought about by a series of fraudulent transactions worth billions, involving more than 50 individuals.

VBS was placed under curatorship in March and Motau was appointed not long after that.

According to News24, a team of five prosecutors have been assigned to this matter to work hand in hand with at least 10 Hawks investigators in the investigation. The report was received by prosecutors, who are currently studying it.

“The report as it stands cannot be used for any criminal prosecution, the matter requires further criminal investigation. We have to comply with the rules of evidence,” Mfaku said.

Mulaudzi meanwhile confirmed that a team of Hawks investigators have been busy with at least five dockets surrounding the VBS matter “for a long time”. The matter is considered as a top priority.

He explained that the team consisted of individuals from various provinces and units within the Hawks, who could use the report in guiding their work if they chose to do so.

He said, initially, there had been six dockets which have now been combined into one.

The South African Reserve Bank took a similar stance when they published the report on Wednesday.

“The evidence presented in the report is not a reflection of either the guilt or innocence of any party, as not all parties have been given an opportunity to respond to the evidence,” the SARB statement accompanying the report read.

“The report may assist the law enforcement authorities in its investigation into the affairs of VBS. Once their investigations have been concluded, the authorities may decide to institute criminal prosecutions; the courts will be the final adjudicator in this regard.”

Motau has recommended criminal and civil proceedings to recover some of the R1.8bn he says was looted out of the bank.

His report also finds that VBS is “rotten to the core” and he does not envisage any possibility of saving the bank.




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