Estranged wife of Vele CEO claims he stashed R50m looted from VBS

But Khosi Madzonga says she had not benefited in any way from the looting

Wife of Vele CEO claims he stashed R50m looted from VBS

22 February 2019

Khosi Madzonga, the estranged wife of embattled former Vele Investments CEO Robert Madzonga, has reportedly accused him of stashing millions looted from the bankrupted VBS Mutual Bank.

News24 reported that, between 2015 and early 2018, when the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) placed VBS under curatorship due to a liquidity crisis.

The chair of the bank, Tshifhiwa Matodzi – together with his co-directors and Madzonga – had facilitated the looting of nearly R2bn, according to a report by advocate Terry Motau titled "The Great Bank Heist".

On Friday, Madzongo's wife said in an interview with Talk Radio 702's Bongani Bingwa that she "wanted to clear her name", or "spill the beans", as Bingwa put it.

She said that she had not benefited in any way from the looting of VBS.

"I never received money from VBS. I never received money from Robert. I worked for my money, that's why I was never able to track what Robert was doing," the former Miss SA contestant said.

According to The Star, Khosi left the couple's home in November last year.

Khosi said, when she met Robert about 10 years ago, he was already wealthy.

"But when I met him, he was just a person, I didn't know what he had," she told Bingwa.

They fell in love and got married and Robert had been a good husband, "up to a certain point", she said.

Khosi added that she was surprised to see pictures of herself in the media when the VBS scandal broke last year.

"I am not this person that kind of follows my husband. 'What did you do today? How much money did you make today?' I was busy with my own things … I never knew his business life in details," she told Bingwa.

Asked about her Instagram posts depicting luxury cars and a helicopter, among other expensive possessions, Khosi said the helicopter didn't belong to them.

"He did own a lot of cars," she said.

Khosi said she didn't question her husband's lavish lifestyle, because he was already rich when she met him. VBS didn't change their lives, she said.

But once the VBS scandal became public, Khosi started paying closer attention to her husband's dealings.

She told The Star how the bank heist scandal then turned her life upside down, "largely because of how Madzonga allegedly changed towards her when the scandal deepened".

"He was emotionally abusive. He'd come home and not eat for 30 days. The helper and I were living in fear because we always had to check how angry he was," Khosi reportedly said.

"He hid R50m with one of his colleagues in his lawyer's account. He recently bought a beach house in Ballito, Durban," Khosi told The Star.

She stumbled across this information in a WhatsApp voice note that was mistakenly sent to her by one of Robert's bodyguards, Khosi told Bingwa.

Khosi told The Star she was speaking out because the scandal "unfairly took a lot from her".

It had reportedly wrecked all facets of her life, from her happy marriage to her modelling career.

"I wish I never knew VBS; maybe I'd still be happily married," she reportedly said.

Bingwa asked Khosi whether she was merely upset that she no longer had "access to the loot", to which she responded: "I don't care about a flashy life[style]. I come from a normal background."

She said it was "unfair" that she was being associated with VBS, as she was "clueless about what was happening".

"I'm not part of this money, I don't have this money, I don't own this money," she told Bingwa.

Robert Madzonga would not respond to his wife's claims, The Star reported.

As the former CEO of Vele Investments, VBS's main shareholder, Madzonga allegedly dipped into hundreds of millions of rands in funds belonging to depositors of the bank to finance his lifestyle, News24 reported last year.

According to bank statements obtained by City Press, Madzonga enjoyed an after-tax monthly income of R400 000 and a travel allowance of R100 000 per month.

He received a further R15m from VBS. This was first transferred to Vele, then to another company and finally deposited into Madzonga's account. This money was used to pay for six of his cars, which are worth more than R6m; his R213 000 monthly bond; and occasional dinners at Gianni's Ristorante, an upmarket seafood eatery in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, City Press reported.