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Former VBS chief financial officer plans to plead guilty – NPA

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Former VBS chief financial officer plans to plead guilty – NPA

6th July 2020

By: African News Agency

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Phillip Truter, the former chief financial officer of the now defunct VBS Mutual Bank, has indicated that he is pleading guilty on all charges against him relating to the defrauding of the bank, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Monday.

NPA spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema confirmed that Truter would plead guilty to the charges. 

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Truter appeared in the commercial crimes court sitting in Palm Ridge on Monday morning. He is one of eight suspects on whom authorities zoned in in what they term the first leg of their VBS investigation. The suspects face charges of racketeering, fraud, theft and corruption.

Truter however was not arrested along with the other seven suspects last month as he was in isolation as a result of Covid-19. He was finally taken into custody at the weekend and was granted bail of R50 000 on Monday.

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He also had to hand over his passport to authorities.

The other seven suspects were granted bail of R100 000.

They include the former chairperson of VBS, Tshifhiwa Matodzi, as well as the bank's former CEO, Andile Ramavhunga, and former treasurer, Phophi Mukhodobwane

Former non-executive board members Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, the former  CFO of the South African police Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi and former senior KPMG employee Sipho Malaba were also arrested.  

Malaba is alleged to have played an active role in covering up the fraud in the scandal that has become known as South Africa's biggest bank heist, in which R34-million was pocketed. 

All eight suspects are due back in court on October 8, the NPA said.

In the so-called second leg of the VBS investigation, the Hawks and the NPA are targeting municipal managers who had a hand in the scheme by depositing vast sums of money with the bank in breach of public finance laws. In total, about 20 municipalities placed about R3.7-billion with the bank. 

So far, the former budget manager of the Merafong municipality, Mattheys Wienekus, has been arrested.

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