Floyd Shivambu, the Economic Freedom Fighters’ second in command, has admitted that his luxury Range Rover Sport was bought with money from the now defunct VBS Mutual Bank.
After being confronted with the existence of a R680 000 payment from his brother’s company to the dealership that sold him the car, Floyd, who initially denied the luxury vehicle was bought with VBS money, now insists the money is clean.
This is because his brother Brian, the sole director in Sgameka Projects, the company that paid for the vehicle, has paid back two loans totalling more than R4-million that were granted to him.
“So your imagination that there was money stolen from VBS is imaginary. Why would he settle the money if the money was stolen?” Floyd said on Wednesday.
Brian’s links to the VBS heist first emerged last year when the South African Reserve Bank’s report, by Terry Motau SC, revealed he had received about R16-million, which is separate to the loans, in “gratuitous” payments, which had “no lawful cause whatsoever”. The payments to Sgameka and Grand Azania, the companies belonging to Brian, were derived from these payments.
Last week, the Mail & Guardian reported details of a Hawks investigation, which followed the trail of VBS loot to the Sandton dealership where Floyd bought his Range Rover Sport.
VBS housed deposits of numerous societies and stokvels belonging to mostly rural and poor people in Limpopo, as well as deposits from some of the poorest municipalities in the country, and several other state-owned entities.The Reserve Bank placed VBS in curatorship last March, when it fell into a severe liquidity crisis.
The M&G has established, through information from sources, that Sgameka made an electronic funds transfer of R680 000 to Trenditrade 23, a company that trades as the Land Rover dealership where Floyd traded in his 2013 Range Rover Sport in exchange for a brand new one.
The payment was to cover the shortfall between the old Range Rover and the new one, which retails from R1.1-million for the base model.
In his latest explanation, Floyd says Brian paid the R680 000 to the dealership as part of his purchase of one of Floyd’s old cars.
The car — a 2012 BMW 7 Series —±was involved in a serious accident and repaired at a panel beater over a three-year period.
“Of course the car [Range Rover] was registered in my name because of an earlier transaction of trading in my previous car, and in exchange of the BMW 7 Series, my brother paid the shortfall,” Floyd said.
Floyd has refused to provide documentation that would prove the sale of the BMW to Brian, as well as the sale of the Range Rover, in 2018, to his cousin Musa Shivambu.
He also refused to answer questions about the 7 series, but the M&G tracked down an earlier tweet by him in which posted a picture of the accident-damaged 7 series, saying it took three years to repair.
Desktop research done on two car sale apps, Cars.co.za and Autotrader, indicate that Brian could have overpaid for this BMW because secondhand models from 2012 — which are not listed as accident-damaged — range from R279 900 to R499 900 for the top-of-the-range M-Sport version.
Floyd insisted it was a good deal, saying: “Yes he [Brian] did, because it was repaired and fully functional when he got it.
“And the bullshit that the money was stolen from VBS is your own MADNESS because he paid the loans he had from VBS.”
Shivambu has previously denied his luxury SUV was bought with money looted from VBS.
He initially invited the M&G to confirm information with the dealership, but then refused to allow the newspaper to tell the dealership they had his permission to peruse the file.
The dealership confirmed last week that Floyd had bought a Range Rover Sport but would not give any further details, including whether the Hawks had requested information.
The Hawks have not responded to the M&G’s detailed questions regarding their investigation into monies looted from VBS, including the transactions of Brian’s companies.
Instead, last week Floyd forwarded, on WhatsApp, a message he claims was from the head of the Hawks, General Godfrey Lebeya. It read: “Good afternoon Sir. The journalist is misrepresenting the Hawks. Although we have received a question from a journalist, we have not responded to such enquiry. We are not going to respond. If the journalist can tell us as to who has told him in the DPCI, we shall ascertain from such member. Regards.”
Floyd, on his own account, owned the new Range Rover from January to December 2018, before selling it for an undisclosed amount of money to his cousin Musa. The re-registration of the vehicle in Musa’s name happens to coincide with increased scrutiny and reporting on his and the EFF’s links to the looted VBS money.
Last year, the M&G published reports showing that monies from VBS and the Public Investment Corporation landed up in accounts of companies that have EFF leader Julius Malema and Floyd’s friends or family members as directors, but whose ultimate beneficial owners are actually the two men.
The concept of “ultimate beneficial ownership” is used by law enforcement agencies in investigations around money laundering and refers to a juristic individual who, despite not appearing on any company documentation or register, effectively controls and benefits from the same company.
A recent investigation by the Daily Maverick claims proceeds of the VBS looting into Mahuna financed Malema’s life, from buying his lunch, accommodation for this year’s Durban July and even his child’s school fees.
The aftermath of that exposé saw an enraged EFF leadership, which dismissed the allegations as untrue, banning Daily Maverick’s Scorpio and AmaBhungane from their events.
Last week Shivambu said links between him, other EFF leaders and the party itself to looted VBS money was part of a co-ordinated attack on the party.