Motau foresees scant recovery of funds in VBS scam
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.