Venda king to payback VBS Bank 'heist' money

Toni Mphephu Ramabulana of the Vhavenda.
Toni Mphephu Ramabulana of the Vhavenda.
Image: FILE

VhaVenda king Toni Mphephu Ramabulana is determined to pay back the  “tainted” millions that he received from VBS Mutual Bank.

According to a SA Reserve Bank forensic report, Ramabulana is said to have received  R17m from the “looted” bank.

The 143-page report, drafted by advocate Terry Motau, revealed the Venda king is among 53 people who benefitted from the looting of R1.8-billion that took place at the bank in just 13 months.

The king has, through his spokesperson, committed to paying every cent of money which he says was received as a gift.

In a letter to Vhahenda people, Ramabulana says, "I irrevocably offer to repay any amount which will be shown to have been the proceeds of the illegalities in the report as soon as they are computed and I'm directed where the repayment must be made and the terms of such payment. The financial ruin, the cold theft to the vulnerable of our people is immical (sic) to the vision my father had as a founding member of this building society

In an interview with eNCA, the king’s spokesperson Mathivha Makonde said they were not aware the gifts were possibly proceeds of crime.

“We, from the office of the king, were not aware that some of the resources and gifts that his majesty received from individuals and entities mentioned in the report were tainted. We were not aware that the source from which these gifts were coming was somewhat not an open matter,” said Makonde.

According to Makonde, the king receives a lot of gifts and it is almost impossible to query each and every one of them.

He said that they would like to be assisted in determining which of the gifts the king received overtime came directly or are linked to the looting of the bank.

In the letter, Ramabulana said it was regrettable that advocate Motau and Werksmans Attorneys didn’t deem it necessary to afford him an opportunity to be interviewed.

These words were echoed by his spokesperson.

“Our issue is that the king was not invited for his version to be heard but be that as it may, we feel that his majesty is pained by what happened to VBS and also the fact that his subjects lost huge sums of money, hard-earned money for that matter,” said Makonde.

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