The Hawks have arrested two suspects on allegations of corruption and maladministration in connection with the looting of the Venda Mutual Bank (VBS).
In a statement on Monday, the Hawks said the arrest of the suspects comes after an intensive, prosecution-aimed investigation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation into the inappropriate administering of state funds into the Venda Mutual Bank by the Thulamela Local Municipality. The investigation revealed that the municipality invested an amount of R30 million into VBS.
The crime-fighting unit said the suspects arrested are a former mayor, who allegedly received, “… a Jeep Cherokee valued at over R638 000 through a well-known VBS money laundering third party”, and a municipal manager, “… who invested… R30 million of… municipality money into VBS in contravention of the Municipal Finance Act”.
The Hawks added that at least 25 people have already been arrested and are in the criminal justice system so far. They face more than 100 charges.
Furthermore, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation says more arrests can be expected during the course of the investigation, “… as about 20 municipalities in Limpopo, North West, and Gauteng, lost nearly R1.6 billion, after illegally investing with the bank”.
Hawks boss, Advocate Godfrey Lebeya, also 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,” Lebeya said.
The two suspects – aged 49 and 52 – are expected to appear in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s’court on Tuesday.