VBS looting suspects appear in court

PRETORIA – Two accused, former mayor of Thulamela Local Municipality, Avhashoni Tshifhango and Municipal Manager Hlengani Maluleke appeared before the Thohoyandou Magistrates’ court this morning and were granted bail of R30 000-00 each. The pair was arrested yesterday morning on allegations of corruption and maladministration.

This is following an intensive, prosecution aimed investigation by the Hawks' Serious Corruption Investigation into 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 former mayor accepted a Jeep Cherokee valued at over R638 000-00 through a well-known VBS money laundering third party. The Municipal manager invested R30 million of the municipality money into VBS in contravention of the Municipal Finance Act.

The matter was postponed to 24 May 2022 in the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. The accused are to surrender their passports to the investigating officer, they are not to make contact with witnesses directly or indirectly and if they would like to leave the country for any reason, the request must be made to the investigating officer.

So far, 25 people have already been arrested and are in the criminal justice system. They face more than 100 charges. More suspects are expected to be arrested 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.

Source: South African Police Service