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Suspended Vele Investments chairman Maanda Manyatshe hints at fraud

Maanda Manyatshe thinks Vele Investments did not pay for its 53% shareholding in VBS Mutual Bank.
Maanda Manyatshe thinks Vele Investments did not pay for its 53% shareholding in VBS Mutual Bank.
Image: Martin Rhodes

Suspended Vele Investments chairman Maanda Manyatshe has accused the company of fraudulently acquiring its 53% shares in the controversial VBS Mutual Bank.

In a statement circulating on chat groups, Manyatshe claimed to have met with the South African Reserve Bank and the curator of the bank to tell them his initial findings into the bank's problems.

"I have been concerned about the silence of other shareholders in VBS when this matter unfolded.

"I was brought in as chairman of Vele Investments and the shareholding was transferred from Tshifhiwa Matodzi to myself," he said.

Manyatshe said he had not seen any evidence of Vele Investments paying for the 53% it has in VBS.

"My conclusion is that Vele Investments fraudulently acquired the shares without paying a cent.

"The board and PIC (Public Investment Company) must assist in clearing this up. Vele Investments used VBS money to acquire the companies that it has. Thus VBS should be the majority owner of Vele and not the other way round," he said.

Manyatshe confirmed he is the author of the statement.

"The statement was meant to be confidential and somebody with mischievous intention leaked [it] to [the] public. However, I don't regret writing the statement," he said.

The curator of VBS Mutual Bank, Anoosh Rooplaal, has this week called upon small depositors to close their accounts at the bank.

"Customers who have less than R1000 in their VBS accounts have been requested to come into their nearest VBS branches to close their accounts. They will not be charged any fees to close these accounts and will receive all of their deposited money from the bank," said Louise Brugman, spokeswoman for the curator.

"These customers need to please come into the branch before August 31 2018 with their valid ID books and they will receive their deposits in full."

Brugman said that the decision to take a more conservative approach and close the accounts of certain individual deposit holders was made due to the increased uncertainty surrounding VBS and given that the forensic investigation into the bank is still under way.

"Other retail depositors remain unaffected and they will still be able to withdraw R1000 per day from the branches as a protective mechanism for all retail deposit holders. Burial societies continue to be able to withdraw R7000 per burial after producing a valid death certificate," Brugman said.

Rooplaal said he had met with Manyatshe and he raised similar issues written in the statement.

"I have seen the statement but when I sought a confirmation from Manyatshe on whether he was the author he couldn't respond.

"In our meeting we told Manyatshe to surrender Vele Investment assets to the curator and we would draft an agreement, but to our surprise he hasn't done so," he said.

Rooplaal said they told Manyatshe that in the drafted agreement it would be indicated that the assets will be released when the investigation is completed.

Vele Investment spokesman Ndivhuwo Khangale dismissed allegations that Vele acquired its shares fraudulently. "There are loans between Vele, its subsidiaries and VBS. Vele doesn't interfere nor evaluate the work of the curator."

Khangale said Manyatshe was suspended early in the month and replaced by Robert Madzonga, a former CEO.

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