Mayor 'cried' over measly R300‚000 'Christmas' in bank feeding frenzy

VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.
VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.

In December 2017 the Vhembe District municipality mayor was pleading for a “Christmas” for her and the speaker of the municipality as they were the ones making sure the money deposited in the VBS Mutual Bank was kept by the bank for six months.

“Christmas” is often used in local lingo during the year-end holiday season to signal a request for a monetary gift.

The Reserve Bank placed VBS under curatorship in March after withdrawals by municipalities led to a cash crunch. The Bank then appointed a team of forensic investigators led by Werksmans Attorneys and advocate Terry Motau‚ to establish what exactly had precipitated the failure.

The forensic report describes a criminal enterprise led by executives of the bank who were supposed to be its custodians‚ starting with the chair of VBS‚ Tshifhiwa Matodzi‚ who was identified as the kingpin. It recommends that they face criminal charges.

A WhatsApp message from politically connected middleman Kabelo Matsepe to Matodzi on December 20 2017 shows one example of the “rampant corruption and bribery that occurred”‚ Motau said in his forensic report.

“We gave her 300k and she cried [local lingo for complained] and said we gave juniors R1.5m and we give her 300k.… We said we will consult with you and will sort her out on Friday morning … If we can let’s give her 1% or 2% on a level of trust because she did keep her promise that she will block the money from being withdrawn‚” the rest of the brazen WhatsApp message reads.

The report shows how bank executives allegedly bribed municipal officials to deposit public funds in VBS.

The deposits made by municipalities in Gauteng‚ Limpopo and the North West were only one facet of the sordid mess which has emerged from the dealings of the bank.

- Business Day 

The explosive findings of a damning report into the failure of VBS Mutual Bank reveals how its architects and accomplices stole a bank. Business Day’s Warren Thompson explains what is happening at the bank.

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