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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

SIU: National Lotteries Commission swindled millions meant for community upliftment

The SIU investigation revealed that officials, board members and family members benefitted from NLC funds.

A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation has revealed how the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) leadership allegedly plundered about R300 million that was meant for community upliftment projects around the country.

The SIU presented its findings to the portfolio committee on trade, industry and competition on Wednesday.

“The SIU investigation has uncovered a web of corruption related to NLC funding and flow of funds to NLC officials, board members and their family members. The SIU is pursuing all individuals involved in the siphoning of NLC money,” the body said in a tweet.

Among a litany of allegations is that relatives of NLC officials received funding worth R20.1 million to build a museum in the Northern Cape.

SIU investigators found that the museum project was completed. It is planning to appoint an independent quality surveyor to determine its value for money.

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The report also showed that R1.5 million of NCL funds was paid for the construction of a house belonging to one of its officials.

The SIU told the committee that they will be investigating close to 50 separate cases of corruption and misappropriation of funds.

It has only finalised 12 out of the 50 cases so far, but the DA says it’s clear that by the time the investigation is concluded, the funds allegedly misappropriated and stolen will exceed the R300 million figure initially stated.

“The DA has been reliably informed that the allegations levelled against the NLC leadership include acts committed by individuals including former board chairperson Alfred Nevuthanda, former board member William Huma, and suspended COO Philemon Letwaba,” said the party in a statement.

“While this industrial-scale looting was underway, the African National Congress (ANC) did everything in its power to protect the NLC leadership by assisting them to escape accountability, smearing journalists and trying to silence the DA,” it added.

A large portion of the allegedly misappropriated funds was intended for drug rehabilitation centres, old age homes, women and youth empowerment.

The money was allegedly spent on luxury cars and houses instead. “The SIU investigation has revealed that an NLC senior official received R5.6m meant to change the lives of the majority. The money was used to pay for school fees, maths lessons and an official’s farming business,” the investigative body tweeted.

“We now urge both the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority to act swiftly and decisively against these shameless individuals who have stolen money meant to uplift the most marginalised in our society,” said the DA.

The SIU said it would present the report to the Presidency soon.

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