VBS re­port au­thor shrugs off le­gal threats

The Independent on Saturday - - FRONT PAGE - SHAUN SMILLIE shaun.smillie@inl.co.za

AD­VO­CATE Terry Mo­tau isn’t too both­ered at that grow­ing list of peo­ple want­ing to sue him be­cause he be­lieves they haven’t read his explosive re­port on VBS Mu­tual Bank, “The Great Bank Heist”.

“I am not con­cerned, be­cause I have no doubt that they have not read the re­port. The re­port does not say any­one is guilty. The ques­tion is: Is there money miss­ing from the bank? Yes. Was there money paid out? Yes. Was it paid to en­ti­ties and peo­ple? Yes. Who are they? And how much was paid out?”

Yes­ter­day, former KPMG char­tered ac­coun­tant Sipho Mal­aba an­nounced that he was con­sid­er­ing tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against Mo­tau, who found that Mal­aba had re­ceived about R34 mil­lion in gra­tu­itous pay­ments.

Mal­aba’s lawyer, She­vira De­vachan­der, told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia yes­ter­day that a de­ci­sion on which course of ac­tion to take would be con­cluded next week.

Ac­cord­ing to De­vachan­der, this could see an ap­pli­ca­tion to have the re­port re­viewed, nul­li­fied and set aside.

She said her le­gal team was still go­ing through the re­port, adding that ev­i­dence pre­sented by Mo­tau in the re­port did not re­flect the in­for­ma­tion that Mal­aba sub­mit­ted at an ear­lier in­quiry.

Mo­tau found that Mal­aba, who was the en­gage­ment part­ner in the au­dit of VBS’s fi­nances for up to six years, was likely to have been a ben­e­fi­ciary of very sub­stan­tial and largely un­ser­viced fa­cil­i­ties granted by VBS, which he never de­clared to his former em­ployer, KPMG.

Mal­aba’s threat of le­gal ac­tion against the re­port compiled by Mo­tau and Werk­mans At­tor­neys fol­lows ANC Lim­popo pro­vin­cial trea­surer Danny Msiza’s in­struc­tion to his lawyers to in­sti­tute high court pro­ceed­ings to re­view and set aside por­tions of the re­port, which he main­tains im­prop­erly and falsely in­sin­u­ates wrong­do­ing on his part.

He said he ex­pected his lawyers to file the pa­pers in the com­ing weeks.

The re­port, on the other hand, found that Msiza in­ter­vened on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions when his po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence was re­quired by VBS.

It has been a long week for Mo­tau, who said that all he had done was “live and breathe” the re­port. For five months he and his team had worked at un­der­stand­ing the il­licit money flows from the bank.

“Once I got my hands into it, I re­alised that this is so, so, so big. Big­ger than I con­tem­plated, and big­ger than the Re­serve Bank con­tem­plated. I can’t be­lieve you can have a sit­u­a­tion where peo­ple have the au­dac­ity to do what they have done.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion was at times dif­fi­cult, he added.

“That is why we needed peo­ple with bank­ing expertise, IT foren­sics, foren­sic au­di­tors to help. That was a dif­fi­cult task. You need to fol­low the funds be­fore you could de­ter­mine what ques­tions you are sup­posed to put to which per­son.

“A lot of them came to us and protested their in­no­cence un­til they re­alised the depth of our ev­i­dence. Then they cracked and con­fessed.”

This week, EFF deputy pres­i­dent Floyd Shivambu’s younger brother, Brian, who ap­par­ently re­ceived over R16.1 mil­lion in gra­tu­itous pay­ments, said he in­tended su­ing for defama­tion of his char­ac­ter, “and that of my com­pany”, Sjameka Projects, and for the strain Mo­tau’s re­port has caused his fam­ily. While al­le­ga­tions swirled that Shivambu had al­legedly re­ceived up to R10m from his brother, he has strongly dis­missed this.

EFF leader Julius Malema has also poured cold wa­ter on sug­ges­tions the party would in­sti­tute ac­tion against his deputy.

The ANC’s al­liance part­ners in Lim­popo are de­mand­ing ac­tion be taken against Msiza and Florence Radzi­lani, the ANC’s chair­per­son in the province. Radzi­lani is ac­cused of solic­it­ing a sub­stan­tial bribe, which she al­legedly de­scribed as a Christ­mas present.

But de­spite the knives be­ing out for Mo­tau, he isn’t wor­ried. “My work will speak for it­self.”

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