Presidency denies Ramaphosa’s knowledge of VBS looting

The Presidency “categorically rejects” allegations that President Cyril Ramaphosa knew about corruption at VBS Mutual Bank but did not take action, the Presidency said.

On Sunday,City Press newspaper reported that Ramaphosa was allegedly briefed about widespread corruption at VBS early in 2017, but that he did not do anything about it.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko said in a statement on Monday that the allegation “is baseless and unsubstantiated”.

“President Ramaphosa has no knowledge of any meeting where he is said to have met any person associated with VBS Mutual Bank where he was purportedly briefed on the matter. Likewise, the claim that President Ramaphosa was forewarned about the impending implosion of VBS Bank is unsubstantiated,” she said. 

Khusela said Ramaphosa learned about the VBS saga through “official channels, including the National Treasury”, and said he then asked for a comprehensive report from Treasury on the issue.

“The President reiterates that the relevant law-enforcement and prosecutorial authorities should act with haste and vigour against those behind this unconscionable act of criminality against the most vulnerable in society. South Africans should not be misled by attempts to divert attention away from those responsible,” Diko said.

Last week, a report into allegations of corruption at the bank was released.

The report, by Advocate Terry Motau, appointed by the Reserve Bank, recommended that more than 50 individuals be criminally charged and held liable in civil proceedings.

This includes VBS directors, as well as politicians, municipal officials, their relatives and auditors who signed off on the bank’s “fraudulent” financial statements.

“Substantial bribes were paid to certain of VBS’ directors and other related parties in order to buy their silence and to look the other way while the looting was going on,” Motau’s report found. — News 24.

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Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 

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