VBS: Second wave of arrests expected to target municipal officials

VBS: Second wave of arrests expected to target municipal officials

- A second wave of arrests in the VBS loot case is imminent

- Last week Thursday seven of the eight suspects appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court

- The second wave of arrests will target municipal officials and businesspeople linked to the collapse of the bank

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More arrests are expected to be made in the VBS Mutual Bank case after seven of the eight suspects appeared in court last week Thursday.

After a two-year investigation, seven suspects appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on 47 counts including corruption, theft and racketeering.

The eighth suspect is said to have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and will follow due processes once recovered.

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City Press reported that the next rounds of arrests will shift focus to 14 municipalities which deposited R1.6 billion into VBS, which contravened Municipal Finance Management Act regulations.

These regulations prohibit municipalities from investing funds with a mutual bank.

While the first wave of arrests targeted eight key suspects, most of whom were senior ranking VBS staff, such as 'kingpin’ Tshifhiwa Matodzi and Phophi Mukhodobwane, the second wave will target municipal officials and high profile businesspeople.

Independent Online reported that sources close to the investigation have warned that the case could collapse because of political meddling. The source said:

"This case is purely a criminal matter but it would be turned into a political circus by those who have hidden agendas and scores to settle with their rivals. And if we allow political meddling to happen in this case, we will see it collapsing regardless of the crucial evidence collected against the suspects."

City Press reported that they have been reliably informed by sources in the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) that municipal workers including mayors, municipal managers and chief financial officers, are the next targets.

In total, 20 municipalities deposited at least R3.7 billion, of which R1.5 billion was never paid back by the now defunct bank.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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