South African banker jailed over looting from poor savers
The former executive of a South African bank that collapsed after being looted by politically-connected individuals in one of the country’s worst-ever corruption scandals was jailed for 10 years Wednesday.
VBS Mutual Bank, which catered mainly for poor rural depositors, collapsed in 2018 after 53 executives and politicians stole a total of $120 million.
The central bank published a report in October 2018 titled “The Great Bank Heist” that laid bare the greed of the bank’s plunderers, causing “widespread impoverishment” of VBS customers, who were mainly poor, black and female.
In the first conviction related to the case, its former chief financial officer, Phillip Truter, was given a 10-year prison sentence on Wednesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement, after pleading guilty to fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges.
“He was complicit and active during the VBS debacle,” said the NPA in a statement.
Seven others, including the bank’s former CEO, are still on trial.
VBS was created at the height of apartheid in the Venda homeland, an area of modern-day Limpopo province reserved by white authorities for black communities.