BLSA commends the swift action taken by the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) in its inquiry into the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank and the detailed analysis by Terry Motau (SC) and his team of numerous transactions and banking accounts that are implicated in the rampant looting that has taken place at VBS. It is with absolute disgust that we read the scale of theft at VBS and call for the immediate criminal prosecution of all those who have been involved in criminal conduct as well as civil proceedings and other disciplinary steps that must be instituted.
The collapse of VBS Mutual Bank is a disturbing indicator of the extent to which the moral fabric of our country has been eroded by greed and corruption. Not only was VBS yet another failed African bank, it was principally involved in the taking of deposits from the poorest of the poor and retail depositors, including burial societies and stokvels. The clear and callous intent by VBS shareholders, directors, executive management, staff, stakeholders and/or related parties to loot and pillage monies placed on deposit by the poor or other creditors of the bank demonstrates their blatant disregard of the rule of law.
In addition to the prosecution of VBS officials, we call for the arrest of government officials implicated in receiving substantial bribes in return for irregularly depositing very large sums of public monies with VBS. They include officials in the various struggling municipalities, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which is entrusted with managing the retirement savings of our public servants.
The Prudential Authority must grant final sequestration order against those who have already been provisionally sequestrated on the application of the VBS curator; institute further proceedings for civil recoveries, including sequestration and winding-up proceedings, against those who have benefitted from the thefts and frauds; and seek the intervention of the Asset Forfeiture Unit to preserve and confiscate the proceeds of the crimes that have been committed.
Finally, we support Terry Motau’s (SC) recommendation that VBS must be urgently wound up and reject with the contempt it deserves public calls last week by some prominent figures fingered in the inquiry into the VBS fraud to recapitalise VBS as an African bank. This is nothing short of a pretext to deflect attention from the flow of funds between VBS and its captors. It adds insult to injury. VBS is indeed “rotten to the core”.