NPA expects more VBS arrests as first municipal official is charged

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it expects more municipal officials to be arrested as investigations continue into the VBS Mutual Bank looting scandal. The remark comes amid the charging of former Merafong Municipal CFO Thys Wienekus for alleged involvement in the embezzlement.

Wienekus is the first official to be charged in the matter. He appeared in court on Thursday and faces an irregular expenditure charge, under the Municipal Finance Management Act, for his alleged role in depositing R50 million with VBS in June 2017.

Seven other accused were granted R100 000 bail each last week. They include former VBS CEO Andile Ramavhunga. Only two of the suspects managed to post the bail.

Wienekus will appear in court again on the 29th of July.

“Of course this is only one official with regards to that transaction so the investigation with regards to the others that may have been involved continues. In his position as a CFO, he was not in a position to have transferred that money. In terms of the investigating team, we started from the top with regards to the institution which is VBS. We are dealing in legs so this is the municipal leg of that investigation, there’s still a lot to be done,” says NPA Spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has once again denied any involvement in the VBS Mutual Bank saga. He says if anyone has any evidence of any wrongdoing at the bank – they must contact the police.

“When a case is opened, the Hawks have the right to have access to all our forms of communication – have my phones as well. Go into the history of our phones – they have done anyway with our colleagues who have been arrested. Nowhere will you ever find me in any form of communication with any of the VBS people.”

Malema says it is not their role to investigate party members who are alleged to have been involved in the scandal.

Brian Shivambu, the brother of the party’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu, is said to have benefited from the looting of billions at VBS.

Malema has told journalists in Johannesburg that their role as the EFF is to investigate party leaders who are implicated in wrongdoing – and not the millions of members. He says they had a conversation about the VBS matter with Shivambu, but he has been assured that there is nothing untoward involving his brother, Brian.

“We can’t investigate members – if you were saying leaders, a member. If a branch of the EFF wants to investigate that member, they can do it. But if you were saying leaders of the EFF, it is at this level. Can you imagine what we would be doing, investigating every member of the EFF every time that there is an allegation.”