Three other suspects are expected to surrender themselves today. The eighth suspect is affected by COVID-19 quarantine requirements and will be dealt with later. The Hawks has been investigating the case since August 2018. The investigation was conducted in collaboration with the NPA and charged the suspects with 47 charges.
The charges of robbery, theft, fraud and money laundering. The Reserve Bank filed the complaint at the time. The Reserve Bank was of the opinion that the bank would not be able to repay money at that time. Appointed a trustee for the interim bank and in August 2018, the Pretoria High Court ordered the bank to be liquidated.
The investigation showed on March 11, 2018, there was a deficit of over R2 billion. At the time, the board had filed financial statements that made the bank richer than it is, Lebeya explained. The investigation showed that the eight suspects benefited, at least directly or indirectly, from R122 million. 20 Municipalities deposited an amount of R3.7 billion into the bank and R2.2 billion was repaid.
Shamila Batohi, national prosecuting director, says today is a watershed moment in the case. This shows that the authorities are making progress in key cases. While today is an important landmark, there is still much work to be done.
Batohi says it’s clear that the prosecution-based approach by getting the NPA involved, among other things, is a recipe for success. Batohi says she feels the pressure that these kinds of cases should be prosecuted, but it must be borne in mind that quality investigations require time. Batohi says she also has little patience with the public for justice.
Batohi says the country can rest assured that NPA will prosecute wherever the evidence leads them. Although she does not want to point a finger at any group of people, she says if there is evidence of crime and there is the possibility of a successful prosecution, the NPA will prosecute wherever the investigation takes place.
Batohi says that although the NPA wants to complete investigations as quickly as possible, they have found that with the high profile cases, there is a strategy to resolve issues with applications such as these.
Lebeya says the investigation is not yet complete. Among other things, there are municipalities that have invested in the sub-bank. Whoever has benefited, we will not be left untouched says Lebeya. In this investigation, about 1,000 statements were made.
Lebeya says the current leg of the investigation has more to do with the bank itself, and that part of the investigation into the municipalities that have invested in the bank continues. That part of the investigation is advanced. Lebeya cannot say how many people can still be arrested.
Lebeya does not want to mention the names of those arrested now because they only appear in court tomorrow. Lebeya says whatever is said in the media is considered as information for further investigation. However, media reports in themselves are not accepted as pieces of evidence. Lebeya said on a question about whether he had spoken to Floyd Shivambu, EFF deputy, that he did not want to talk about communicating with people. Communication will not derail the investigations.
A question is being raised about the money trail Daily Maverick reported on the involvement of Julius Malema, EFF leader, and Floyd Shivambu, EFF deputy leader at VBS. Lebeya says the practice is that the people under investigation are not named. The Hawks aren’t going to confirm who’s being investigated.