The Banking Association South Africa (BASA) fully endorses the recommendations of the forensic investigation report into the affairs of VBS Mutual Bank (VBS), which says that the culprits behind the fraud and corruption that led to the collapse of the bank must face civil and criminal charges.
We commend the swift handing over of the report to the law enforcement authorities for further investigation and action, by the Reserve Bank. As far as possible, the stolen funds must be recovered, those who gave and received bribes charged and the assets of the guilty seized, among other steps.
We are painfully aware of the damage done to many communities by the criminal actions of a network of individuals that abused trust in the bank. It is time for the authorities in our country to act decisively against those who commit fraud for their personal benefit, at the expense of the poor.
The report into VBS demonstrates the importance of regulatory supervision and oversight. It is a sharp reminder that banks cannot take the trust of their depositors and the public for granted. Ongoing vigilance is required to ensure that trust and reputation – established through sound governance, transparency and good conduct – is protected.
BASA and its members will continue to work with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) – through the prudential and market conduct authorities – and the National Treasury, to ensure that South African banks conduct their business according to best practice and in the interest of their customers.