Another top VBS beneficiary clears the air

The Free State Development Corporation (FDC), the alleged third biggest beneficiary of monies looted from the so-called VBS heist, has come out to defend itself from allegations that it “gratuitously” received over R100-million from the bank.

In an explosive report released on Wednesday last week, the FDC was named as one of the 53 recipients of suspicious payments from the beleaguered VBS bank.

The corporation allegedly received R104 130 932 from VBS. According to the ‘Great Bank Heist’ report, the two recipients of payouts bigger than the one received by the FDC were bank’s “majority” shareholder, Vele Investments, and its former chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi.

But in a statement released on Tuesday the FDC has disputed the irregularity of its business with VBS.

According to the statement, the records of the FDC show an amount of R100-million was invested with VBS. The interest incurred on this investment meant that a total amount of R104 417 749 was repaid to FDC in four payments, the statement reads.

Last Thursday, it was reported that there had been “no trace” of the money in FDC financial statements between 2014 to date.

“The sole indication of a link between the FDC and its R104-million donor is a single entry in its latest financial statements, stating that little more than R10-million of the FDC’s money was inaccessible due to the curatorship imposed on the bank,” according to a News24 article.

As well as clarifying that the corporation had in fact received payments from VBS, the FDC expressed concern over not having been consulted before the report was released.

This “could have clarified the issue”, the statement reads.

The report, authored by Terry Motau SC, was submitted to the South African Reserve Bank on October 5. It recommends those identified as having benefited from fraudulent conduct at the VBS be criminally charged and held liable in civil proceedings.

VBS was placed under curatorship in March this year against the backdrop of a serious liquidity crisis.

The initial findings of the curator revealed significant financial losses in VBS, which prompted the decision to institute the forensic investigation. VBS is at the centre of a massive and ongoing fraud saga.

Since the publication of Motau’s report, several of those named have disputed its findings, saying they would be challenging the report in court.

READ MORE: Outrage greets VBS bank report

Among those threatening legal action is Brian Shivambu, brother of Economic Freedom Fighters deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who allegedly received more than R16-million from VBS.

In a statement released last Thursday, Brian Shivambu asserted: “Even though the VBS report mentioned my name, at no stage did the VBS Mutual Bank investigators write to me, interview me or interrogate me to explain my business relationship with Vele Investments.”

He added that if the investigators had “bothered” to contact him, he would have “satisfactorily demonstrated” that he had had no dealings with the bank. He said he would sue “the owners of the VBS report” for defamation of character.

Brian Shivambu being identified in the report, sparked speculation into the links between the EFF deputy president and his brother’s business.

A Mail & Guardian report revealed that Floyd Shivambu provided the business account details of Brian to Lawrence Mulaudzi, who is also being investigated for a R300 000 request for payment to an alleged lover of Public Investment Corporation boss Dan Matjila.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, EFF leader Julius Malema said his second-in-command took the party’s leaders “into his confidence” by disclosing his financial statements dating back to 2014.

READ MORE: Malema: Floyd brought us his financial statements

“He brought his financial statements to us. We cannot locate money from the VBS,” Malema said.

Read the statement below:

FDC Media Statement by Mail and Guardian on Scribd

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
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