R1.4 billion looted through dodgy NPOs and NPCs by former executives of the National Lotteries Commission

Over a Billion looted by former executives of the National Lotteries Commission.image: file

Over a Billion looted by former executives of the National Lotteries Commission.image: file

Published Sep 28, 2022


The head of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) Andy Mothibi revealed before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on Tuesday that more than R1.4 billion was looted through dodgy NPOs and NPCs by former executives of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

During his presentation Mothibi said the collapse of systems, including evaluation and monitoring, project management and other shortcomings, syndicates working with people from inside the NLC had contributed to the rot that has been uncovered through three phases of investigations carried by the SIU over the past two years.

Reacting to the rot, the DA’s spokesperson on trade, Mat Cuthbert slammed the ANC and former executives of the NLC for the extent of corruption at the commission.

Cuthbert added that senior officials responsible for the corruption should be brought to book.

Last week, the Special Tribunal moved swiftly to freeze more than R2.8 million of former NLC COO Philemon Letwaba’s assets. His pension fund was interdicted by the SIU over his alleged involvement in corruption at the commission.

"The grotesque use of funding on luxury cars and homes, which was actually intended for old-age homes, drug rehabilitation centres and youth upliftment centres, just shows how twisted these individuals are. The next time the ANC tells you are they pro-poor, do yourself a favour and don’t believe them," Cuthbert said.

On Tuesday the SIU revealed that approximately R1.4 billion of funding meant for grannies, the marginalised and sick was allegedly looted by former NLC board members and senior officials.

According to the SIU, the investigation comprises of three phases, with the first phase having been completed already. The total value of the investigations per phase revealed that phase 1 uncovered R279m, phase 2 uncovered R246m, and that phase 3 uncovered R905m, in fraudulent deals at the NLC which has been referred as evidence implicating 13 individuals to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for possible prosecution.

"We call on the NPA to ensure that they process this evidence speedily and begin the process to prosecute these individuals.The SIU has done an outstanding job in uncovering the industrial-scale looting at the NLC, but it would be a travesty of justice if the NPA doesn’t pursue criminal prosecution," Cuthbert said.

He said it is not good enough that Minister Ebrahim Patel and his ANC colleagues have heaped praise on the SIU for the work being done, as they contributed to the corruption of the NLC.

"They were the same individuals who shielded former board members from scrutiny.

“They were the same individuals who chastised the opposition and the media for exposing corruption and maladministration, and it was members of the ANC who allegedly used the NLC as their personal piggy bank at the expense of the most vulnerable in society,” he said.

On Tuesday newly elected chairperson of NLC, Barney Pityana promised to turn the NLC around and improve its image, following a series of damning findings against some of its former executives.

He said his team has committed itself to stabilising NLC, having already outlined plans and interventions to improve its image.

"An immediate intervention is the establishment of an anti fraud coordinating team consisting of the SIU, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), and Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), as well as a moratorium on all proactive funding ... Today a renewed pledge has been made, not only to parliament, but to South Africans in general to restore the integrity in the running of NLC," Pityana said.