First VBS conviction as former VBS executive goes to jail

The former Venda Building Society (VBS) Bank Chief Financial Officer, Philip Truter, will spend seven years behind bars after pleading guilty to charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering, and racketeering.

Truter was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, three of which were suspended by the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Courts on Wednesday.

VBS was placed under curatorship in March 2018 after it experienced challenges following the failure by the board of directors and executive management to manage the institution’s rapid growth funding and its liquidity.

A staggering R1.9 billion was looted from the bank before its collapse, Advocate Terry Motau SC’s forensic report found earlier this year.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Truter entered into a plea bargain with the State.

“He was complicit and active during the VBS debacle and has decided to come clean.

“The law enforcement agencies always encourage either whistle-blowers or accused persons who want to make a full, frank, honest and open disclosure about their involvement and their ill-gotten gains,” the NPA said in a statement.

The NPA said there are times when, especially in the realm of corruption, law enforcement will need the cooperation of insiders.

“Many of these schemes are fairly closed and only an [tight] inside the group will have the know-how of the shenanigans that transpired. Someone like Truter, who decided to take responsibility for his actions, will always be encouraged to talk to the State and such honesty is welcomed,” the NPA said.

According to the NPA, corruption can effectively be beaten from the inside.

“Further legs of the VBS investigation by the Hawks and the NPA are progressing well,” the NPA said.

Among the accused, who all pleaded not guilty, are former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, VBS former Chief Executive Andile Ramavhunga, former Treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane, former KPMG auditor Sipho Malaba, SAPS Chief Financial Officer Lieutenant-General Avhashoni Ramikosi, and former non-executive VBS board members Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula. – SAnews.gov.za

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