VBS heist accused weeps in court, says he intends to plead guilty and spill the beans during trial

Published Jul 6, 2020


Johannesburg - The R2.3 billion VBS Mutual Bank saga took a twist as its former executive told the court he would spill the beans and reveal how people's life savings were allegedly looted.

On Monday at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, sitting in Palmridge, Philip Truter, the former chief financial officer at VBS, shocked the court when he said he would plead guilty to all 47 charges he faces in the alleged R2.3bn bank heist.

Truter, who cried throughout the sitting, looked visibly pale and severely stressed. He told the court through an affidavit read out by his lawyer, WJ Hattingh, that he felt very sorry for the people who lost their life savings after the bank folded in March 2018.

He is facing 47 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, theft and money laundering should the counts make it to trial.

He is the eighth accused in the case. Seven other directors and executives made their first appearance in the same court about two weeks ago. 

They are Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the former VBS chairperson; Andile Ramavhunga, the former chief executive; Phophi Mukhodobwane, the former treasurer; Sipho Malaba, who was an auditor at KPMG; Lieutenant-General Avhashoni Ramikosi, who was a non-executive director as well as Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, both of whom were representing the Public Investment Corporation as non-executive directors on the board.

On Monday, Truter's affidavit revealed he was reliant on his wife since his estate was sequestrated in November 2018 by the South Gauteng High Court.

However, he said he would reveal everything and work with the State. 

"I intend to plead. I apologise for what happened, and I'm sorry to the victims of VBS," Truter said in his affidavit, while he was applying for bail. 

Prosecutor JH van der Merwe confirmed to the court Truter had approached the State and offered to provide information. 

"We have no reason to doubt that we will come to an agreement... He (Truter) intends to serve a sentence that will reflect the seriousness of the crimes," Van der Merwe said.

Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi accepted Truter's affidavit and granted him bail of R50 000.

The other seven co-accused, who were granted bail of R100 000, all indicated they would plead not guilty and that the State had a weak case against them. 

All eight accused will be back in court in October. 


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