Picture: 123RF/ZERBOR
Picture: 123RF/ZERBOR

The SA Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority (PA) said on Wednesday it will appeal a judgment setting aside findings advocate Terry Motau made against ANC politician Danny Msiza in his explosive report about the wide-scale looting that collapsed VBS Mutual Bank.

The PA, which is responsible for regulating banks, insurers, co-operative financial institutions and financial conglomerates, said a senior counsel had advised there were good grounds to appeal the judgment. Based on that advice, the PA said it would file an application for leave to appeal.

Msiza allegedly used his political influence as the ANC Limpopo’s provincial treasurer to coerce municipal officials into unlawfully investing millions of rand in the bank, Motau found in his investigation.

“It is clear that Msiza intervened on numerous occasions when his political influence was required,” Motau said.

However, Pretoria high court judge Vivian Tlhapi ruled that Motau had denied Msiza, reportedly a key ally of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, “procedural fairness” by not hearing his side of the story before finding that he was a “kingpin” in the VBS Mutual Bank looting.

The adverse findings Motau made against Msiza were thus set aside.

As part of his efforts to defend his findings, Motau and Werksmans Attorneys, which worked with him to investigate the VBS Mutual Bank looting, had attached e-mails, WhatsApp discussions, interviews under oath, bank statements and documents detailing Msiza’s wrongdoing.

In her judgment,  Tlhapi ruled that she was “not called upon to evaluate the truth” of this evidence “or to consider the justification for the contents of the report”. Instead, she found that Motau’s failure to afford Msiza the right to “procedural fairness” was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Msiza and former Vhembe mayor Florence Radzilani, who were suspended from their positions soon after the Motau report came out, had already been reinstated by the party before the court judgment.

Nine people are facing criminal prosecution for their alleged roles in the looting of the bank. The group, which includes VBS Mutual Bank’s top executives, is facing a combined 47 counts, including those of racketeering, theft, fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), however, said Tlhapi’s judgment will have “no effect” on the criminal cases spawned by Motau’s investigation. NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said Msiza is not one of the nine accused in the criminal prosecution.

Though the NPA may have used Motau’s report as a “starting point” in the development of its case, the state had obtained its own evidence before pursuing the prosecution, Ngwema said.

The NPA said the former CFO of VBS Mutual Bank, Philip Truter, was planning on pleading guilty to the charges.

With Karyn Maughan

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za

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