Mon, 24 Jun 2019

Embattled ANC Limpopo treasurer general Danny Msiza has stepped down from his position just hours after court papers were filed showing how he personally benefited from wide-scale fraud at VBS Mutual Bank.

In a letter addressed to ANC secretary general Ace Magashule on Tuesday, seen by News24, Msiza confirms his decision to "step aside".

This comes in the wake of a resolution taken by the party's national working committee confirming its integrity committee's report, which recommended that Msiza should vacate the position.

Msiza was implicated in the VBS scandal by allegations that he used his political influence to convince mayors and municipal officials from at least 10 Limpopo municipalities to invest hundreds of millions of rands in the now collapsed bank.

These investments were unlawful, as municipalities are not permitted to invest with mutual banks. National Treasury also issued an instruction note to municipalities to stop them from investing funds.

On Tuesday, Florence Radzilani also resigned as Vhembe district mayor amid allegations of her involvement in the VBS saga. She is also the deputy chairperson of the ANC in Limpopo, and has been asked by the party to vacate the position.

Resignation not 'an admission of guilt'

She allegedly received R300 000 in exchange for Vhembe investing R300m in the bank.

Six other mayors also implicated in the VBS scandal have been asked to resign as well, the ANC in Limpopo announced on Tuesday.

Several of these Limpopo municipalities are struggling to recover financially following the South African Reserve Bank's decision to place the bank under curatorship in March this year. In November the North Gauteng High Court issued a final order to liquidate the bank, which meant that the funds being held by the bank were effectively frozen.

"I do this not as an admission of guilt on my part on matters relating to VBS, but rather with a clean and clear conscience that there is absolutely nothing untoward I have committed," Msiza's resignation letter reads.

Msiza emphasised that the support he gave to VBS was "inspired by our over-arching drive to promote meaningful transformation within the financial services sector" and maintained that he could not be held accountable for the transgressions of the VBS executives.

On Tuesday News24 revealed that Msiza had obtained a questionable mortgage loan from VBS worth R9.5m, in the name of Mojovax - a company of which Msiza and his wife were the sole directors.

This was revealed in court papers filed by advocate Terry Motau, SC, in response to a court bid by Msiza to have parts of Motau's report deleted or expunged.

R27m in commission for 'middleman'

Motau, whose report is titled The great bank heist, was mandated to investigate the financial misconduct which led to the collapse of VBS. He found that the executives of the bank had looted more than R2bn from the bank.

Motau's latest court papers have revealed that a company belonging to former ANC Youth League Limpopo president Kabelo Matsepe - Moshate Investments - had paid at least R716 000 towards the repayments on Msiza's bond.

Matsepe was identified by Motau as a key middleman between municipal officials and VBS. Matsepe's company was paid R27m in commissions for his facilitation of the investments in VBS.

He allegedly in turn would insure the officials - which included mayors and municipal managers - would get paid, also in return for the cash investments.

"My direct financial interface with the bank [VBS] is a legitimate commercial property loan (not a home loan) which I have prepaid until January 2019. The source of the funding is perfectly legitimate," Msiza's letter reads.

READ: VBS scandal: Danny Msiza heads to court to challenge report

Msiza further bemoans the "gross injustice" he has been subjected to by Motau, arguing he was never given the opportunity to respond to the allegations against him.

Motau accused of 'abuse of public power'

"Instead, over a period of nine months I have been subjected to deliberate and selective media leaks in the course of his (Motau's) investigation. Even after all these, he still failed to afford me the opportunity to answer allegations levelled against me."

Msiza expressed his confidence that a court of law would prove his innocence and alluded to "threats by law enforcement".

"Hence my decision to approach the court to seek justice in the midst of outright abuse of public power by advocate Motau," Msiza adds.

Msiza said that over and above his position in the ANC he was "an entrepreneur with a broad corporate portfolio and consequently extensive relations in the corporate sector".

"The misplaced assumption by advocate Motau that these are premised only on VBS will elaborately disproved in a court of law."

Msiza concluded the letter by thanking President Cyril Ramaphosa and the "entire membership of the ANC for the honour and privilege to serve our glorious movement".

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