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Compiled by Devina Haripersad

Senior Business/Finance journalist

High Court rejects bid to derail National Lotteries Commission corruption probe

Dr Marite's application against the SIU was deemed "an abuse of the legal process".

The South African High Court in Pretoria has thrown out, with costs, Right Play Health Services’ director Dr John Marite’s application, which sought to compel the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to replace its investigative team for the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) probe.

In a ruling issued on 5 September, Acting Judge Hein Snyman stated Dr Marite’s application against the SIU was deemed “an abuse of the legal process”.

Dr Marite had instituted legal action against the SIU when he claimed its team conducting the NLC probe may have been compromised.

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Background to the case

The SIU was investigating the NLC in South Africa for alleged corruption and wrongdoing.

During their investigation, the SIU found that Dr John Marite’s company, Right Play Health Services, received R7.2 million from an organisation called Zibsimode, which had connections to the NLC’s former board chairperson, Alfred Nevhutanda.

Zibsimode had received R20.2 million in funding from the NLC for various projects related to traditional circumcision practices and public campaigns.

Dr Marite invoiced Zibsimode for R7,292,700, and they paid it. However, some of this money was used to pay R2,009,700 to a company called Ironbridge Travel Agency, which had connections to NLC’s Chief Operating Officer, Phillemon Letwaba.

Right Play Health Services also transferred R2,013,000 to another company, Ndzuku Trading, owned by Malwandla Solly Siweya, who was involved in Dr Marite’s legal case against the SIU. Siweya’s company received R4.1 million in total from Zibsimode.

No answers

When the SIU questioned Dr Marite about these transactions, he could not provide clear answers.

Dr Marite then went to the High Court, asking them to make the SIU change its investigation team and how they conducted their work.

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On 5 September, the High Court dismissed Dr Marite’s request, stating it was an abuse of the legal process and an attempt to avoid accountability.

The SIU welcomed the court’s decision, as it allows them to continue their investigation into the R7.2 million received by Dr Marite and ensures their independence in the investigation process.

The SIU has the authority, granted by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to investigate corruption and wrongdoing at the NLC. They can take legal action to correct any issues they find and can refer evidence of criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority for further action.

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