Life­styles of the VBS ‘heist’ rich and in­fa­mous

Noth­ing but the best for men named in al­leged loot­ing of failed bank

Sunday Times - - News Vbs Scandal - By JEFF WICKS

● Ski jaunts to Alaska, fleets of flashy cars, and homes in some of the most sought-af­ter lo­ca­tions in the coun­try.

These are just some of the lux­u­ries on which three of the men named in the damn­ing re­port on the loot­ing of VBS Mu­tual Bank splashed out.

Tshifhiwa Ma­todzi, for­mer chair of the bank, Robert Mad­zonga, CEO of Vele In­vest­ments and a for­mer COO of VBS, and Ka­belo Mat­sepe, a for­mer leader of the ANC Youth League in Lim­popo, were named in the re­port, “The Great Bank Heist”, re­leased this week by ad­vo­cate Terry Mo­tau.

The re­port, com­mis­sioned by the South African Re­serve Bank, found that over the past three years more than 50 peo­ple had ben­e­fited from “gra­tu­itous” pay­outs to­talling nearly R2bn from the Lim­popobased bank.

The re­port says Ma­todzi pock­eted R325m and Mad­zonga re­ceived in ex­cess of R30m through a vast net­work of com­pa­nies and fronts.

Mat­sepe, de­scribed by Mo­tau as the po­lit­i­cally con­nected “fixer” who se­cured the pli­ancy of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that pushed busi­ness to­wards VBS, is said to have re­ceived R35.4m.

Face­book posts show that in De­cem­ber last year, three months be­fore VBS was placed un­der cu­ra­tor­ship due to a liq­uid­ity cri­sis, Ma­todzi, 41, the al­leged king­pin in the fraud, hit the ski slopes in Alaska.

Among the re­sorts he ap­pears to have vis­ited is Alyeska, 70km north of An­chor­age. The Alyeska Ho­tel, nes­tled in a lush val­ley sur­rounded by snow­capped moun­tain peaks, was ad­ver­tis­ing a daily rate of $111 (R1,600) a per­son shar­ing this week.

“I will bring lots of ice to take to Venda,” Ma­todzi joked with a friend who mar­velled at the pic­tures he posted on Face­book.

Pub­lic doc­u­ments show Ma­todzi has at least two prop­er­ties in his name in SA, a R1.5m house in the plush Ea­gle Canyon Golf Es­tate west of Johannesburg and a R1.7m, 9ha farm on the out­skirts of Pre­to­ria.

Ma­todzi is said to have hosted meet­ings at the Ea­gle Canyon prop­erty with Mat­sepe and oth­ers to plan the VBS en­rich­ment scheme.

Ma­todzi, an ac­tive di­rec­tor of six other busi­nesses, re­ferred re­quests for com­ment to his lawyer.

Ma­todzi’s lawyer, ad­vo­cate Hechter Han­son, said: “Our client is will­ing to co-op­er­ate ... but at this stage ... al­le­ga­tions mere as­sump­tions.” Han­son would not be drawn to an­swer de­tailed ques­tions.

Mad­zonga, who is also a pas­tor, has as­sets that in­clude a man­sion worth R8.5m in Blue Hills, north of Johannesburg, and a home in Plet­ten­berg Bay.

His cars, in­clud­ing a Brabus-tuned Mercedes-Benz G63 which sells for R2.5m, a Lam­borgh­ini and a Roll­sRoyce Phan­tom, have been flaunted on so­cial me­dia by his wife, beauty queen Khosi Mad­zonga.

Khosi was dropped as a Brand SA am­bas­sador af­ter a vit­ri­olic rant aimed at a jour­nal­ist who ques­tioned her about her lav­ish life­style.

Mo­tau said he could make no de­fin­i­tive find­ing as to what spe­cific role Mad­zonga might have played, but his de­nial of any knowl­edge or in­volve­ment in the fraud and theft “rings hol­low”.

Mad­zonga, 51, has protested his in­no­cence.

“The amounts are for salaries, bonuses, for cars and for bonds,” said Mad­zonga, whose es­tate, along with that of Ma­todzi, has been pro­vi­sion­ally se­ques­trated at the re­quest of the VBS cu­ra­tors.

“I did not ben­e­fit from the loot­ing,” Mad­zonga said. “Un­til to­day I pay for my house and my cars and if I don’t pay they can come and re­pos­sess them.”

He said he’d been hired by the com­pany and never ques­tioned where the money to pay him came from.

Mat­sepe’s wind­fall in­cluded a bond of nearly R5.5m through VBS, which he used to buy a home in Mid­stream Es­tate in Cen­tu­rion.

A com­pany linked to Mat­sepe is also al­leged to have chan­nelled R250,000 to the ANC by pur­chas­ing a ta­ble for a gala din­ner in Jan­uary in Port El­iz­a­beth to mark the party’s 106th birth­day.

Ef­forts to con­tact Mat­sepe by phone were un­suc­cess­ful and he re­ceived but did not re­spond to a What­sApp mes­sage with de­tailed ques­tions.

Mo­tau said in his re­port that “there is hardly a per­son in its [VBS’s] em­ploy in any po­si­tion of au­thor­ity who is not, in some way or other, com­plicit”.

Pic­tures: In­sta­gram

Khosi Mad­zonga with some of the lux­ury cars she and her hus­band own: a Rolls-Royce Phan­tom, be­low, and a Brabus-tuned Mercedes-Benz G63, left, that sells for R2.5m.

Pic­ture: In­sta­gram

Vele In­vest­ments boss Robert Mad­zonga with his beauty queen wife, Khosi.

For­mer VBS chair Tshifhiwa Ma­todzi, left, with Venda king Toni Ram­ab­u­lana.

Pic­ture: Face­book

For­mer Lim­popo ANC Youth League chair Ka­belo Mat­sepe.

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