Nkululeko Luthuli could face criminal charges even though he had resigned as CEO of the Royal Household Trust, the trust’s chairman, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, said yesterday.

Luthuli, who was suspended in February, had tendered his resignation, which comes into effect at the end of June.

However, Ngwenya said, there were ongoing investigations and if they found any reason to bring criminal charges against him, they would do so.

It is alleged that Luthuli used money from the trust for personal use. Ngwenya said after the first leg of their investigation, they presented Luthuli with an “administrative” charge sheet and proceeded with further investigations.

The allegations against him include that he hired cars for himself and his friends at the expense of the trust. The amount of money allegedly misappropriated is in the region of R3m.

Yesterday, Ngwenya said the work of the trust had been hamstrung by the investigation into Luthuli and the subsequent resignations of its chief financial officer and marketing manager.

ACPD MPL Jo-Ann Downs said that if Luthuli had used trust money for personal gain, he should face criminal charges.

“I find it utterly infuriating when people who commit criminal acts of corruption are not pursued by government. We are sending a message that if you get caught you might have to pay back,” said Downs.

She said those who were found guilty then moved on to pursue a career in another department.

DA spokesman Sizwe Mchunu welcomed a decision that would result in Luthuli paying back funds. Mchunu said he hoped that this would be the start of addressing problems in the trust which included over-expenditure.

“The board needs to ensure that targets are set and then met, and begin developing an entity which is self-sustaining and profitable – rather than one which is completely reliant on provincial taxpayers’ money,” said Mchunu.

Last week, The Mercury reported that the royal household had again exceeded its budget by R4.451 million. An analysis of its 2011/2012 budget showed that it had overspent on financial management consultants, subsistence and travel and fleet expenses.