Angolan investor lost R144m in VBS scandal
Publish date: 06 August 2018
Issue Number: 785
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The VBS Mutual Bank scandal has widened after controversial and politically-connected Angolan banker and millionaire Álvaro Sobrinho lost his R144m investment in the bank, according to City Press. The deal with Sobrinho – a business partner of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos’ daughter, and who owns a bank and a football club in Portugal – was allegedly brokered by ANC Limpopo provincial treasurer Danny Msiza and young businessperson Kabelo Matsepe. It was discussed in London and Venda King Toni Mphephu accompanied Msiza and Matsepe in July last year in a delegation that also included Mphephu’s adviser Paul Makhavhu, former VBS chief executive Andile Ramavhunga and Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the chairperson of VBS’ owner, the now-liquidated Vele Investments. This revelation is contained in the transcript of Ramavhunga’s interrogation by a panel chaired by Advocate Terry Motau, which was given to the forensic investigators working on the case.
Provisional sequestration orders have been granted against Ramavhunga and Robert Madzonga, VBS’ previous chief operations officer and group executive officer of Vele Investments. A report in Business Report says this decision by Acting Deputy Judge-President Moroa Tsoka in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) follows Tsoka's earlier ruling, where he granted provisional sequestration orders on VBS executives Tshifhiwa Matodzi, Phillipus Truter and Phopi Mukhodobwane. Vele Investments, VBS’ alleged main shareholder which according to the curators founding affidavit benefited some R745m from alleged fraud carried out by bank executives, was also liquidated. In the latest judgment, Tsoka said that Ramavhunga's explanation of a receipt of R15m was false and a lie and that the proceeds were probable fraud. He further found that Madzonga's claim that receipt of R4.5m as a promotion bonus was a lie and an attempt to explain the inexplicable. The judge went further to say that ‘the interest of justice looms large in this matter and that VBS was stripped of its assets that belong to poor people. Fraud was perpetrated by the very people that were placed in the position to look after these people's interests. It was motivated by greed, where enough is never enough’.