VBS heist: Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza wants his trial separated from 13 co-accused

12th October 2021 By: News24Wire

 VBS heist: Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza wants his trial separated from 13 co-accused

VBS Mutual Bank heist accused, Limpopo African National Congress (ANC) treasurer Danny Msiza, has applied to have his trial held separately to his 13 co-accused. 

This was revealed in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, where Msiza and his co-accused appeared for pre-trial conference. 

Prosecutor Hein van der Merwe told the court that, while the State was ready to proceed with trial, there were outstanding issues on the part of the legal representatives for the accused, including the separation of trial application. 

Van der Merwe told the court that the application, which will be dealt with by way of a motion, would be heard on 4 November. 

Msiza’s lawyer told the court that the separation of trial papers had been served on the State, which had since opposed the motion.

Meanwhile, other legal representatives of some of the accused have not yet finalised financial instructions with their clients, and one party has requested further particulars from the State. 

The lawyer for former VBS chief operations officer Robert Madzonga told the court that they would also be requesting further particulars, but would only do so after hearing the outcome of possible plea negotiations. 

Van der Merwe told the court that no plea negotiations were on the table at this stage. 

Two terms

The prosecution also placed it on record that a trial date could not be set until these issues had been dealt with. 

The court asked that all instructions and requests for further particulars be dealt with and finalised before the end of the year so that a trial date could be arranged at the next court appearance. 

The court also heard that the trial was expected to take place over two terms and last for about five months. 

The matter was postponed to 24 January 2022. 

News24 reported that the matter had to be postponed previously because several of the accused had changed legal representatives after the matter was transferred to the High Court. 

News24 previously reported that the accused were charged with theft, fraud, money laundering, corruption, racketeering, and contraventions of provisions in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca).

It is alleged that they looted more than R2-billion from the now defunct bank between 2015 and 2018.

In 2020, one of the accused in the matter, former VBS CFO Philip Truter, pleaded guilty in a plea bargain and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.