Mo­tau fore­sees scant re­cov­ery of funds in VBS scam

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE -

AD­VO­CATE Terry Mo­tau warned yes­ter­day that re­cov­er­ing money lost to fraud at the VBS Mu­tual Bank would be a long process with lim­ited suc­cess.

“I’m not op­ti­mistic that we will re­cover a huge amount. If I were a bet­ting man, I would say we would get 20 to 30 cents in the rand,” Mo­tau told Par­lia­ment’s stand­ing com­mit­tee on fi­nance. He added that what he has termed the heist of VBS by cor­rupt di­rec­tors was “not a vic­tim­less crime”.

“There are at least 3% of de­pos­i­tors we will not be able to fully re­fund.”

He said their de­posits to­talled “a rough fig­ure of R90 mil­lion”. The SA Re­serve Bank has se­cured guar­an­tees from Trea­sury of up to R100 000 per de­pos­i­tor for VBS. But Mo­tau pointed out that this still left vul­ner­a­ble de­pos­i­tors such as a grand­mother who had de­posited her sav­ings of R150 000 and a com­mu­nity stokvel that had half a mil­lion rand in its ac­count.

Mo­tau penned a damn­ing 148page foren­sic re­port that de­tailed how nearly R2 bil­lion was il­lic­itly paid out to 53 peo­ple and en­ti­ties, and rec­om­mended that crim­i­nal charges be brought against those re­spon­si­ble.

Act­ing Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity head Si­las Ra­maite told MPs that five state pros­e­cu­tors were work­ing on the case and giv­ing guid­ance to the Hawks. “The re­port on its own is not suf­fi­cient to take us to a prose­cu­tion,” he told the com­mit­tee. “It is likely to be taken on re­view.”

Mo­tau, the SA Re­serve Bank and Trea­sury faced per­sis­tent ques­tions from MPs as to when wrong­do­ing at VBS first be­came ap­par­ent.

Is­mail Momo­niat, Trea­sury’s head of fi­nan­cial sec­tor pol­icy, ac­knowl­edged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties were high­lighted in Oc­to­ber 2017. “It cer­tainly wor­ries me, we could have been faster,” he said, but added that forc­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to with­draw money they had de­posited with VBS would have trig­gered the bank’s im­me­di­ate col­lapse.

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