The NPA has confirmed that any political figures involved in their extended investigations into the collapse of the VBS Bank will be charged ‘no matter who they are’. Following an earlier report from amaBhungane, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi said that action will be taken.
Politicians linked to VBS
The press conference was to announce that almost 50 charges have been brought against eight men who were major players in the bank’s downfall. VBS lost more than R2 billion from the corporate looting that hollowed-out their reserves. EFF leaders, ANC representatives and even a traditional king have been implicated in the scandal.
In fact, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu have become synonymous with the case, after the pair were linked to slush funds connected to VBS. They have each strenuously denied involvement, but according to Batohi, prosecutors will go after anyone the investigation leads them to:
“What I can say is that we will certainly prosecute wherever the evidence takes us. If there’s evidence of criminality and we are satisfied that a prosecution can be made, we will take that action – no matter where it leads us. We are intent upon finalising this as quick as possible, but there’s always a strategy to delay matters.”
“We can’t really control things like that. But as the NPA, we’re taking a tougher stance on delaying tactics. It’ll be vigorously opposed by the NPA at all costs. It’s probably the biggest bank robbery in South Africa’s history.”
Which officials are in trouble?
National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation, Lt Gen Godfrey Lebeya, revealed that twenty municipalities are also being investigated for impropriety in connection to the VBS collapse.
“We are dealing with one branch involved in running VBS itself. Twenty municipalities are being investigated, and that probe continues. We can’t comment on political individuals, but the investigation is at an advanced state. We can only ask you to watch this space.”
Neither Lebeya nor Batohi will be drawn into revealing which politicians (if any) have been implicated. The pair has reiterated that it cannot name anyone prior to formal charges. #VBS
— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) June 17, 2020