SIU pounces on National Lottery Commission: Raids Pretoria offices

SIU pounces on National Lottery Commission: Raids Pretoria offices

- The SIU is closing in on the National Lottery Commission on Tuesday morning

- The unit managed to obtain a search-and-seizure warrant earlier this week

- This comes after President Ramaphosa signed a proclamation authorising an investigation

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The Special Investigating Unit has closed in on the National Lottery Commission, carrying out a raid on its Pretoria officers.

The group had obtained a search-and-seizure warrant on Monday, authorising the raid after President Cyril Ramaphosa had signed off on the probe.

Ramaphosa had signed a proclamation in November green-lighting the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration involving the entity.

SIU pounces on National Lottery Commission: Raids Pretoria offices
Allegations of maladministration and corruption have long haunted the NLC. Image: GroundUp
Source: UGC

The investigation is, according to BusinessLIVE, looking into numerous matters including:

  • Maladministration in connection with the affairs of the commission
  • Unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money
  • Unlawful conduct by officials at the commission
  • Unlawful acquisitions, transactions, measures of practices relating to state property
  • Intentional or negligent loss of public money

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Multiple allegations of graft have surfaced implicating the commission in recent days, mostly centring around the distribution of the proceeds of the lottery.

The commission is charged with ensuring the lottery is regulated and that the distribution of funds aids good causes.

It obtains funding to operate from the profits of the national lottery, which News24 reports amount to R1.5 billion - R2 billion annually.

The commission is meant to empower grant funding to worthy causes minus the need for an applications process.

This is due to a 2015 amendment which allowed the commission to assist organisations which lacked the ability to submit applications.

However, this opened up the funding process to abuse, with numerous top officials, such as COO Phillemon Letwaba, accused of corruption.

Letwaba was suspended earlier this year, accused of funnelling lucrative grants to organisations owned by friend and family.

Earlier, reported that the National Lotteries Commission has been caught up in a scandal after allegations of financial shenanigans.

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A R11 million grant was paid over to a non-profit organisation, I Am Made for God's Glory, but R2 million was paid to a private company. The sole director of Upbrand Properties is Kenneth Sithole, the cousin of NLC CEO Phillemon Letwaba.

But this is not the first time allegations of this nature have been levied against Upbrand. GroundUp previously accused the company of receiving a R15 million contract to build a rehab centre near Pretoria.

Letwaba's brother Johannes had been a director of the company at the time but later resigned, leaving Keneilwa Maboa as the sole director. Following Moboa's resignation just over a year later, Kenneth Sithole took over the reins, only to be implicated in dodgy dealings.

The report indicates that the bank account of the non-profit organisation had lain dormant until just before the Lotto funds were paid over. Before the R11 million was paid over, only R190.55 was available, according to the leaked document.

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