VBS bank’s ex-finance boss Phillip Truter pleads guilty

Former VBS Mutual Bank CFO Phillip Truter at the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court on October 7 2020. He has reached a plea and sentence agreement with the state.
Image: Ernest Mabuza

Former VBS Mutual Bank CFO Phillip Truter on Wednesday pleaded guilty to six counts related to looting of funds at the bank.

Truter was the eighth suspect who appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court, in connection with looting of the bank.

When he made his first appearance in July, Truter indicated he intended pleading guilty to the charges he was facing. He faces two counts of fraud, and a count each of money laundering, corruption, racketeering and failure to submit a tax return.

The prosecution on Wednesday first requested a separation of trials in respect of Truter, and the court granted the application.

Truter reached a plea and sentence agreement with the state, whereby he pleaded guilty to all six counts.

He admitted that although he claimed the financial statements of the bank for the year ending March 2017 were accurate, he knew the statement of the financial position was false.

“The accused does not have any excuse in law for his actions,” prosecutor Hein van der Merwe read from the agreement.

Truter also admitted to offering to accept a gratification of R5m from former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Calvin Matodzi.

His former co-accused include Matodzi, former VBS CEO Andile Ramavhunga, former treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane, and former non-executive board members Enerst Nesane and Paul Magula. The former CFO of the SA Police Service, Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi, and former KPMG engagement partner, Sipho Malaba, were also arrested.

Their trial will continue on Thursday.

This is a developing story

BY Ernest Mabuza

Leave a Reply