The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) raided the National Lotteries Commission offices in Pretoria on Tuesday morning [December 8]. This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the SIU to probe allegations of corruption and maladministration levelled against the Commission.

“The SIU and the Hawks officials got there at 7am this morning. The relevant documents, whether electronic or print, were taken in relation to the proclamation that was signed by the president,” the SIU’s spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told the Daily Maverick. “Right now, the SIU is interviewing the relevant people, the rest were told to go home.”

He added to EWN: “We were fearful of the fact that documents might disappear now that this is in the public, we then applied for a search and seizure warrant which was granted by the magistrate yesterday and that’s why we’re here today.”

After raiding the NLC offices, the SIU and Hawks then moved on to the offices of lawyer Lesley Ramulifho in Garsfontein, Pretoria. Ramulifho is allegedly linked to dodgy Lottery grants, according to the Daily Maverick.

Working with the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the SIU is investigating claims that the Commission misused money in 2014. Staff members allegedly pocketed several grants that were meant to be distributed to community-based projects.

Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) minister Ebrahim Patel appointed forensic investigators to look into the matter earlier in the year. In September, they handed over evidence to the police detailing a dodgy R27.5 million rand Lottery grant.

The evidence showed that over R20-million of Lottery funds given to Denzhe Primary Care to cover the costs of building a drug rehabilitation centre near Pretoria is unaccounted for, according to GroundUp. The centre has never been completed.

In October, President Ramaphosa signed a proclamation giving the SIU and Hawks the greenlight to investigate the NLC.

The Special Investigating Unit are to investigate any allegations of:

– serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the NLC

– improper or unlawful conduct by employees or officials of the NLC

– unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property

– unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon State property;

– intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property

– offence referred to in Parts 1 to 4, or section 17, 20 or 21 (in so far as it relates to the aforementioned offences) of Chapter 2 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004), and which offences were committed in connection with the affairs of the NLC

– unlawful or improper conduct by any person, which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public or any category thereof

The proclamation covers any alleged offences that may have taken place between January 1, 2014, and the date of publication of this Proclamation (November 6) or which took place prior to January 1, 2014, or after the date of publication of this Proclamation.

Picture: Pixabay

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