The former chief financial officer of the VBS Mutual Bank, Phillip Truter, was on Wednesday sentenced to ten years in prison with three years suspended.
The National Prosecuting Authority said Truter will spend an effective seven years behind bars for his role in the scandal that saw some R1.89 billion looted from the bank between 2015 and 2018, prompting its collapse.
He pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering, contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and failure to submit a tax return in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. Truter offered his full cooperation to the State prosecution.
“He was complicit and active during the VBS debacle as has decided to come clean,” the NPA said in a statement, after the sentence was handed down.
“There are times where, especially in the realm of corruption, when law enforcement will need the cooperation of insiders.
“Many of these schemes are fairly closed and only a very close inside group will have the know-how of the shenanigans that transpired- someone like Truter who decides to take responsibility for his actions will always be encouraged to talk to the state and such is welcomed. Truter is the first person to be convicted in the case.
Seven other suspects who were also arrested earlier this year, deny all charges. They include former VBS chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi, former CEO Andile Ramavhunga and treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane and are due to appear in court again on Thursday.
Matodzi has been described as the kingpin of the scheme that robbed pensioners and cash-strapped municipalities of their deposits with the bank.
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