Former VBS Chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi Sentenced to 495 Years for Looting R2 Billion

CRIME

By Staff Reporter

THOHOYANDOU-Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the former chairperson of the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank and the mastermind behind the looting of R2 billion, has been sentenced to 495 years of direct imprisonment.

The 47-year-old was sentenced on Wednesday by the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

Matodzi has been described as the kingpin of a scheme that siphoned off funds from pensioners and cash-strapped municipalities, leading to the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank. He faced multiple charges, including corruption, theft, fraud, money laundering, and racketeering activities that culminated in the bank’s downfall.

Katlego Mogale, Gauteng spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, stated that Matodzi pleaded guilty to 33 charges and entered into a plea agreement with the State. He received a 15-year sentence for each count, totaling 495 years. However, the court ordered that the sentences for counts two to 33 run concurrently with count one, resulting in an effective 15-year imprisonment. Additionally, Matodzi was declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Matodzi was charged alongside former VBS CEO Andile Ramavhunga, former treasurer Phophi Mukhobdobwane, KPMG auditor Sipho Malaba, Lieutenant-General Avhashoni Ramikosi, and non-executive directors Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, who both represented the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on the VBS board.

In a twist, former VBS chief financial officer Phillip Truter turned State witness, testifying against his co-accused. Truter admitted to his involvement in the theft of VBS funds and, in 2020, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended.

This landmark case underscores the severe consequences of financial crimes and the justice system’s commitment to holding perpetrators accountable.

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