VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Picture: SOWETAN/ANTONIO MUCHAVE
VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Picture: SOWETAN/ANTONIO MUCHAVE

A former manager at the Merafong municipality was arrested on Thursday in connection with R50m invested with VBS Mutual Bank.

The suspect was scheduled to appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court on charges of contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act linked to the ongoing probe into the bank saga.

Eight former bank executives and suspects appeared in court last week.

“The suspect, who was arrested this morning, was employed at Merafong local municipality ... until his retirement. The investigations revealed that more than R50m was invested with VBS Mutual Bank at the time when he was acting as the CFO at the municipality,” Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said.

Merafong is one of 20 municipalities that invested funds with VBS in contravention of the act.

“I have indicated that the investigations into the municipalities are at an advanced stage. This is the beginning and all the other cases are receiving the necessary attention,” said the national head of the the Hawks, Godfrey Lebeya.

Former VBS chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi; CEO Andile Ramavhunga; CFO Philip Truter; treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane; and board member Avhashoni Ramikosi — who were arrested with former KPMG audit partner Sipho Malaba, and the Public Investment Corporation representatives to the bank, Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, appeared in court last week.

The Sunday Times reported that the men, who all pleaded not guilty, appeared disheveled in the dock of the Palm Ridge regional court in Katlehong, Gauteng,  after spending the night in the cells.

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