Former VBS COO denies participating in looting the bank


JOHANNESBURG, August 2 – Senior counsel for the beleaguered Robert Madzonga, former chief operations officer at VBS Mutual bank, on Wednesday told the high court in Johannesburg that his client was not implicated in the R1.5bn which was plundered from the institution.

Jonathan Blou was arguing during an application to have Madzonga’s estate provisionally sequestrated.

Blou said the main witness, Phophi Mukhodobwane, VBS’s general head of treasury and capital management, did not implicate Madzonga in his affidavit.

In his affidavit, Mukhodobwane provided shocking allegations of how he and his colleagues allegedly stole depositors’ money. He also provided evidence of the support network built to keep money flowing into the bank.

According to curator Anoosh Rooplal, Mukhodobwane’s testimony revealed how VBS executives paid themselves hefty bonuses which they used to fund their lavish lifestyles, purchase immovable property, buy high-end motor vehicles, and take up shares in other entities.

On Tuesday, provisional sequestration orders were granted against Tshifiwa Matodzi, the former chair of VBS’s board of directors and also the director and chairman of Vele Investments, as well as Phillip Truter, the bank’s chief financial officer, and Mukhodobwane.

It emerged in court on Wednesday that Mukhodobwane wanted to appeal the provisional sequestration.

Andile Ramavhunga, VBS’s chief executive officer, may also be placed under provisional sequestration after the merits for such an order was argued in court on Tuesday and a judgment is yet to be delivered.

Rooplal wants Madzonga to be sequestrated for orchestrating what is described as a “fraudulent scheme of epic proportions”.

Blou argued that, in his initial affidavit, Mukhodobwane had not named Madzonga as giving instructions which were fraudulent.

He said the only thing connecting his client to the R1.5bn plundered from VBS was a sum of R4.5m which was paid into his account, but he insisted that Madzonga did not know where the money came from.

Earlier on Wednesday, Michael Antonie who is representing Rooplal, said Madzonga tried to solve the liquidation problem at the bank by using cover up methods and fraud.

Antonie said Madzonga allegedly paid R18 million into a VBS account on 16 and 17 February.

The payments were made in the month before VBS was placed under curatorship.

Antonie said Madzonga was desperate and wanted to ensure that the crisis at the bank remained hidden.

Judgement has been reserved. (ANA)