Judge brands VBS bosses greedy liars
Judge scathing of Andile Ramavhunga and Robert Madzonga in wake of VBS’s collapse
The two VBS executives who opposed having their estates liquidated by the curator of the bank lack credibility and are liars and thieves, judge Moroa Tsoka has found.
"It appears their actions were motivated by nothing else but greed. In their opinion, enough was never enough," concluded Tsoka, who presided over the application brought by VBS Bank curator Anoosh Rooplal to have the estates of the bank’s CEO, Andile Ramavhunga, and one-time COO Robert Madzonga, sequestrated.
While the ruling was handed down in early August, the judgment was only made available to Business Day on Tuesday.
Rooplal wanted the estates of five senior executives of the bank and its largest shareholder, Vele Investments, liquidated to cover the gaping losses from the alleged fraud, which he estimates exceeds R1.5bn.
The fraud that induced the crisis that led to the bank being placed in curatorship caused untold suffering to some of SA’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens who had deposited their savings with VBS.
People, including the elderly, queued outside the bank’s branches from as early as 4am to try to access their money.
This prompted the Reserve Bank to seek a guarantee from the National Treasury, which covered 97% of all retail deposit clients of the bank, effectively insulating them from losses.
Three executives failed to oppose the request and were provisionally sequestrated by the judge.
Ramavhunga and Madzonga opposed the application.
But Tsoka took a withering view of the reasons proffered by the two men for suspicious payments they had received from VBS, and which the curator had asserted were fraudulent and tantamount to theft.
Ramavhunga, who received R15m in one particular transaction with VBS, claimed it was an introductory and success fee for a transaction that saw Vele acquire Mvunonala Holdings.
"The attempted explanation by Ramavhunga of the origins of this amount [R15m] is not only beyond reasonable doubt false, but is a lie," wrote Tsoka.
On Madzonga’s reasons, which included that he received R4.5m as a "signing-on bonus", the judge wrote: "The objective evidence reveals that Madzonga’s explanation is a lie."
Tsoka granted the application to have the estates of the two men sequestrated. Also liquidated were the estates of VBS chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi, former CFO Phillip Truter and treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane, as well as Vele Investments.