A helicopter for the Venda king, luxury sea-facing apartments and sports cars: these are the glittering proceeds of what is shaping up to be one of South Africa's costliest and most audacious bank heists. About R900-million is unaccounted for. This week suspended Vele Investments executive chairman Maanda Manyatshe, a central figure in the drama around the once-obscure VBS Mutual Bank in Limpopo, made the sensational claim that Vele Investments, which "bought" a controlling stake in the bank, may not have paid a cent for its share. Having secured its stake in the bank, which was granted a commercial banking licence last year, Vele proceeded to "raid" the bank, splashing out on luxury items, including a helicopter it claimed was for Venda King Toni Ramabulana, himself a 20% shareholder in the bank during the looting spree. Ramabulana was elevated to the kingship by then-president Jacob Zuma, over another royal claimant, at around the same time that Zuma secured a R7.8-million loan fr...

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