Floyd's innocent, says EFF. But SARS, Hawks still have questions for him
There are a great many questions left unanswered by the party's 'probe', but answered they most certainly will be
The EFF has exonerated its deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, from wrongdoing in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, but this is by no means the end of his troubles.
EFF leader Julius Malema said at a highly charged media briefing that the party leaders had examined Shivambu’s financial statements and found no “prima facie” evidence of corruption. That is where the EFF’s investigation into the matter stops.
Malema confirmed, however, that there was movement of money between the accounts of Floyd and younger brother Brian Shivambu, who according to the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) forensic report received R16.1m in “gratuitous payments” from VBS.
Malema said the exchange of funds between the Shivambu brothers was nowhere near the R10m Floyd was alleged to have received from VBS through his sibling and played the payments down as ordinary transfers within families. He also denied the EFF had received any payments from Brian Shivambu’s companies, Sgameka Projects and Grand Azania.
Floyd Shivambu dismissed a media report claiming he had received R10m as “madness” “pure insanity”. While the EFF might be convinced by the explanation of its deputy president and is satisfied there is nothing untoward in the exchange of funds between the Shivambu siblings, there are still questions to be answered. How much money was transferred from Brian to Floyd, and how is the EFF certain this money was not the proceeds of the VBS heist?
Did Floyd declare the income he received from his brother to parliament, which he is compelled to do?
Did Floyd declare the additional income from his brother to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and pay tax on it?
Did Brian Shivambu or his companies make payments on behalf of Floyd or the EFF to service providers for personal and party expenses? Shivambu claimed he only became aware of his brother’s business dealings after the release of the VBS report. It would appear that in all the exchanges of funds with his brother, he never questioned the source of Brian’s windfall.
Malema said the EFF wanted the law enforcement agencies to deal with the allegations of corruption at VBS but did not want to jump to conclusions about the findings of the forensic investigation conducted by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys. He said because several people wanted to take the report on review and Motau himself had indicated that his findings did not pronounce guilt on anyone’s part, “any pronouncement on the validity of report is premature”.
This is ironic in light of the EFF’s demands that former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene step down before any investigation could be conducted into his son Siyabonga Nene’s dealings with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) or their accusations of corruption against Jacob and Duduzane Zuma based on evidence in the public domain.
Malema said the EFF had “no reason to doubt” Shivambu’s claim of innocence and invited anyone with evidence to bring it to the party.
With SARS, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority all dedicating special teams to the VBS investigation, all 53 recipients of monies from VBS will be under scrutiny.
Asked whether Brian would be prepared to return any illicit funds he received from VBS, Floyd said his brother had declared his intention to cooperate with the authorities in any way possible.
The Shivambu brothers might have been let off easily by their party, but they still have many questions to answer from a range of agencies. As opposed to the bluster and obfuscation of an EFF press conference, this might prove to be more rigorous than they imagine.