Picture: SOWETAN/MDUDUZI NDZINGI
Picture: SOWETAN/MDUDUZI NDZINGI

Liquidators of VBS Mutual Bank will be in the high court in Johannesburg on Friday in a bid to recover more than R4.2m owed by Brian Shivambu’s company Sgameka, and to have it liquidated.

Shivambu, who is the brother of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, owes the bank the money for a loan taken on behalf of his company in 2017 and a mortgage in 2016.

VBS liquidator Anoosh Rooplal said in court papers he had brought an application for the winding up of Sgameka “on the basis of its inability to pay its debt owed” and for “committing acts of insolvency”.

A forensic report commissioned by the SA Reserve Bank, published in April, found that Brian Shivambu had received R16m in “gratuitous payments” from VBS, which formed part of a nearly R2bn alleged looting of the bank, leading to its near-collapse.

It has since been alleged that the EFF, its leader Julius Malema, and his deputy Floyd Shivambu — all vocal critics of the Reserve Bank’s handling of the VBS matter — benefited from money embezzled from the bank. They have, however, denied this. 

VBS collapsed in 2018 after the R2bn fraud by its directors was revealed.

The bank’s liquidators have been working to recover money owed to VBS. Last week, a summons was filed in the high court in Pietermaritzburg in a bid to recover R7.3m from former president Jacob Zuma after he failed to fully service a loan from the bank, which he used to pay the state back for upgrades made to his Nkandla home. 

According to Rooplal’s court papers in the Sgameka matter, the company owed VBS a little more than R2.7m for the loan and R1.5m for the mortgage.

The amaBhungane centre for investigative journalism reported last week that the high court ruled on August 5 that Brian Shivambu would be personally liable for the loan debt. On the same day as the court order, Shivambu’s lawyers reportedly paid R1m into the loan account. 

The liquidation application was set down for last week but then the full balance of the mortgage was paid overnight, amaBhungane reported. 

According to the court papers, in December 2017, Sgameka represented by Shivambu, concluded a written loan agreement in which the bank agreed to lend and advance an amount of R4m.

Sgameka had agreed to repay the capital amount, together with incidental costs and interest accrued in 24 instalments: 23 would be R190,627 and the last instalment R188,855. Sgameka, however, failed to pay the instalments in accordance with the loan agreement. 

On the mortgage, Shivambu was given about R1.4m by VBS in October 2016, so that Sgameka could purchase property in Mogale City, west of Johannesburg. It was agreed that instalments of R19,660 would be paid over 240 months. But again, he failed to pay the instalments. 

Rooplal said there had been no dispute raised by Sgameka in respect of the amount owed. On February 27, attorneys for Sgameka wrote to VBS liquidator’s lawyers offering to pay R5,000 a month starting on March 31 2019.

Rooplal said he was advised that when a debtor offers to pay less than what is required and admits that he owes the full debt, he has committed an act of insolvency. He said Sgameka’s offer was three times lower than the initial instalment in respect of the loan agreement.

Said Rooplal, “It is evident that the respondent is struggling financially and most likely is incurring more debts to the detriment of its current creditors.”   

quintalg@businesslive.co.za