Reserve Bank takes aim at VBS looters
THE SA Reserve Bank is going after those behind the looting of VBS Mutual Bank and is demanding that they declare, on their tax returns, the money they received from the failed financial institution. Deputy governor of the Reserve Bank Kuben Naidoo told Parliament last week that the bank would give the SA Revenue Service (Sars) a report on those behind the looting.
Naidoo was addressing the standing committee on finance, with members of the Hawks and representatives of the National Treasury, the SA Institute of Chartered Accounts and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), among others, in attendance.
A forensic report by advocate Terry Motau SC found several individuals, including former executives of VBS and people with political connections, received hundreds of millions of rand from the bank, and that almost R2 billion was looted from it.
Naidoo said the Reserve Bank wanted those implicated to declare on their tax returns what they received from VBS, and Sars would take up the matter after the report was submitted to it. “If people claim they provided a service, they must pay income tax,” said Naidoo.
The National Treasury said it was the task of the Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority to regulate the affairs of banks.
The NPA has allocated five prosecutors to the Hawks to work on the looting case. The Hawks have directed 10 investigators to investigate the matter, and indicated it would take a long time to conclude the probe and effect arrests.
But the NPA has begun the process of seizing the assets of some of the people implicated in the looting of VBS. The process of asset seizure will run parallel with investigations conducted by other law enforcement agencies.
Motau confirmed that some of the people implicated in the report, including Brian Shivambu, the younger brother of EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu, had said they would have the report reviewed. This was based on the fact that they were not given an opportunity to give their input on the matter before the report was released. Motau said one person had already challenged the report in court.
The VBS looting has been in the public domain for several weeks following the Reserve Bank’s release of Motau’s report.
The Reserve Bank said that, despite all efforts, VBS would not be saved. It said VBS had a gaping R372 million “hole”, and if anyone wanted to buy the bank they would have to deal with that problem.