The Great VBS Heist: Former ANCYL Limpopo leader’s R35.4m spending list exposed

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Newly leaked VBS Mutual Bank statements allow a peek into VBS fixer and former ANCYL Limpopo leader Kabelo Matsepe’s dodgy riches: R35.4m allegedly stolen from vulnerable Limpopo depositors and municipalities via VBS bought him a Range Rover, a property in Centurion and saw millions channelled towards his company. Matsepe’s latest brazen move – claiming an additional R21.6-million in ‘commissions’ as a bank's creditor – shows that the VBS fight for justice is far from over.

The first big ticket item on Kabelo Matsepe’s shopping list was a R2.39-million Range Rover. The luxury vehicle was “financed” through VBS Mutual Bank, but, typical of how the bank operated, Matsepe paid no instalments back to VBS, newly leaked VBS bank statements and documents show.

Matsepe’s second big acquisition was a nearly R5.5-million bonded house in Midstream Estate, Centurion. Bank statements suggest that Matsepe paid only R1.97-million towards the 900 square metre house that according to public documents is still registered in his name. The balance of the R35.4-million, apart from about R3-million in legal fees that Matsepe paid to two law firms, was sent to Matsepe’s company, Moshate Investment Group.

The former ANCYL leader in Limpopo, Matsepe became involved in the VBS Mutual Bank saga in late 2016 when then CEO Tshifiwa Mathodzi recruited him to do “consulting” work for the bank.

The job: Get municipalities to invest taxpayers’ money for as long as possible in VBS Mutual Bank, even though such an act would be a contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). If anyone is difficult, pay a bribe.

The spin-off: Matsepe was rewarded with R35.4-million for his “ubiquitous” presence in the bank’s affairs.

These were the findings published in the investigative report The Great Bank Heist authored by Advocate Terry Motau and law firm Werksmans.

Motau and Werksmans were appointed to investigate an ostensible “liquidity crisis” after the VBS bank was put under curatorship in March 2018. The investigation found that there was no liquidity crisis, but wholesale looting of the bank, orchestrated by its managers in order to benefit politicians and the politically connected. The Great Bank Heist report, voluminous as it is, is sparse on details and provided only the essence of why and how VBS bank was robbed into implosion.

After perusing Matsepe’s VBS bank statements and other documents, Scorpio can now reveal that he had received “vehicle finance” from VBS for the Range Rover by October 2016.

Except, it wasn’t vehicle finance as law-abiding citizens know it.

Matsepe still owes the full amount of the Range Rover to VBS and is about R170,000 in arrears on his monthly instalments, sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed.

Matsepe was asked to comment on Scorpio’s findings, but declined.

In July 2017, a payment of R1.97-million appears to have been made towards the Midstream house.

Further payments from Matsepe’s VBS account to the First National Bank account of his company Moshate Investment Group abruptly stopped in January 2018 – two months before the bank was put under curatorship.

Matsepe’s Moshate Investment Group received money into its FNB account from at least three VBS sources: Vele investments, the Robvet slush fund and Matsepe’s private VBS account.

These payments were irregular, the amounts inconsistent and were effected between September 2016 and January 2018. The biggest amount to be paid to Moshate Investment Group seems to be R5-million, the smallest under R1,500.

Notable in these bank statements are the payments from the VBS slush fund, Robvet. Motau and Werksmans found that Robvet was continuously used whenever bribes were paid, especially in cases where the bank managers tried to circumvent the banking system.

The bank statements confirm Motau’s finding: “The Robvet account was the main source of these payments” into Moshate Investment Group.

Motau further stated:

VBS paid Matsepe his ‘commission’ generally by way of a payment from the Robvet account, and Matsepe in turn paid a portion over to some or other municipal official… I take the view that the very fact that such payments were made for the Robvet account as opposed to VBS’ own expense account is demonstrable proof that the managers of VBS did not regard the payments as legitimate operating expenses and sought to conceal them.”

While Matsepe declined to comment to Scorpio, his lawyer Mariq van der Westhuizen told journalist Jeff Wicks of Tiso Blackstar in October 2018 that Matsepe was on the verge of legally challenging the Motau report.

Our client denies any unlawful conduct, and it is submitted that our client’s relationship with VBS was based on a valid, lawful consultancy contract. The enquiry has offended a plethora of constitutional principles, and we are in the process of preparing an application whereby the constitutionality of the enquiry will be objurgated. The application will be issued shortly.”

Almost six months later, nothing has come of this threat yet.

Motau and Werksmans found that reneging on the payment of loan instalments was a typical scheme used by a variety of beneficiaries to extract money from VBS. While the paperwork for the loan looks legitimate, and loan agreements were duly signed and noted, the actual repayment of these loans simply did not occur. The transgressions were also not met with any reprisal from the bank.

Hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money left VBS bank in this manner.

In another brazen move earlier in March, Matsepe claimed to be a creditor of VBS who is owed an additional R21.6-million for “consulting fees”.

VBS has been in the process of being wound up since November 2018. Matsepe’s claim was lodged with the Master of the High Court in Polokwane, represented by William Sekete, at the first meeting of VBS creditors on 11 March 2019.

The purpose of the meeting was for all creditors of the bank to prove a case of money being owed to them by the bank.

Only four claims were proffered: Three municipalities claimed a total of R190-million, while Matsepe’s Moshate Investment Group claimed R21.6-million. Matsepe’s claim was dismissed as it had not been properly filed. The municipalities’ claims were met with agreement.

Matsepe was considering his options in this regard.

Matsepe’s financial records form part of information on several entities that investigators have provided to law enforcement.

The Financial Intelligence Centre, the banks, the VBS curator and liquidators should now – theoretically – work in conjunction in order to piece together the puzzle of the illicit VBS money flows. DM


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