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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Lottery corruption: Preservation order granted for luxury homes, cars, restaurants worth R22m

A preservation order involving property purchased through dodgy dealings was granted on Friday.


Unlawful activities at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) are once again in the spotlight, with the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) securing a preservation order for properties worth over R20 million.

The order of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) unit was secured on Friday, and will preserve property suspected of being the proceeds of dodgy NLC dealings.

The NLC has been racked with serious allegations of maladministration and corruption, with some matters being investigated dating back to 2014.

The Special Investigation Unit (SIU), directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2020 to investigate the NLC, uncovered “widespread corruption, fraud, theft and contraventions of the Lotteries Act” committed by officials and non-profit organisations (NPOs).

ALSO READ: Millions to be spent to complete abandoned Lottery-funded projects

NLC officials and NPOs collaborated to “defraud the NLC”, the AFU said, to the tune of almost R344 million in grants destined for impoverished communities.

A school torched during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo, a drug rehabilitation centre in Pretoria, and an old age home in Kuruman, Northern Cape, were just some of the buildings meant to be constructed by the stolen money.

But instead, grants were used to buy lavish properties for NLC employees and NPO members.

ALSO READ: Pics: Lotto boss living his best life, while on suspension with R270k a month salary

The AFU found that in most instances, properties were registered in the names of the NPOs, and not private individuals.

Some entities also pretended to be construction companies, but carried out very little, if any work. These were used as “money laundering vehicles” to receive kickbacks from NPOs getting grant money from the NLC.

Nine luxury residential estates to the value of more than R22 million, as well as a BMW 420i convertible and two Ocean Basket franchises are linked to grants allocated to the NLC, and are under preservation.

Former NLC COO Phillemon Letwaba resigned in August, weeks before he was due to appear before a disciplinary hearing regarding charges of abusing his position to enrich himself and his family.

Before him, NLC Commisisoner Charlotte Thabang Mampane resigned, with GroundUp revealing her luxury home on a golf course in the North West was paid for using a lottery grant meant to build the Vuwani school.

Criminal cases have been opened against Letwaba, and a Pretoria lawyer who did work for the NLC, Lesley Ramulifho.

The AFU said the next step would be to apply for a forfeiture order. Once granted, properties will then be sold at a public auction, and the proceeds returned to the NLC.

ALSO READ: NLC commissioner resigns ‘with immediate effect’

Compiled by Nica Richards.