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City couple questioned over lottery funds

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The Special Investigating Unit and the Hawks questioned a couple employed at the Northern Cape Lottery Commission in Kimberley on Thursday as part of an investigation into money that was allegedly siphoned from funds meant for non-profit organisations.

SIU members at the National Lotteries Commission offices in Kimberley.

THE SPECIAL Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Hawks questioned a couple employed at the Northern Cape Lottery Commission in Kimberley on Thursday as part of an investigation into money that was allegedly siphoned from funds meant for non-profit organisations.

The SIU obtained a search and seizure warrant from the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court to raid the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) offices.

This follows a report that was submitted to Parliament last week detailing collusion between NLC officials and purported non-profit organisations where millions of rand that was meant to develop facilities, including drug rehabilitation centres, old age homes, and youth empowerment facilities, was allegedly diverted from the NLC and used to purchase cars and luxury homes.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the warrant was obtained on March 8 to authorise the unit to search and seize evidence from the NLC Kimberly office relating to the funding of non-profit organisations (NPO) to uplift communities in the Province.

“Accompanied by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Prevention (Hawks), SIU investigators raided NLC offices to seize evidence that might assist with an ongoing investigation,” said Kganyago.

He stated that the SIU was reliably informed by whistle-blowers that NLC officials had allegedly enlisted the services of runners, who were tasked with the responsibility of “scouting” NPOs in the Province to encourage them to apply for NLC funding.

“Immediately after the funding was approved and released to NPOs, it is alleged that the runners together with NLC officials would share approximately 30 percent of the funding.

“Fearing that normal procedure of requesting documents, in accordance with SIU Act 74 of 1996, might result in crucial evidence being compromised, the SIU approached the magistrate’s court for a search and seizure warrant to raid the NLC office. The SIU is looking to seize documents, laptops and computer hard drives.”

Kganyago stated that two officials were allegedly involved in transactions that were under investigation between 2014 and 2020.

“The SIU was, in terms of Proclamation R32 of 2020, authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of NLC and the conduct of NLC officials.

“The proclamation covers offences which took place between January 1, 2014 and November 6, 2020, the date of publication of this proclamation, or which took place prior to January 1, 2014. It also covers any offences after the proclamation date that are relevant to, connected with, incidental to the matters or involve the same persons, entities or contracts investigated under authority of Proclamation R32 of 2020.”

He stated that the amount of funds under investigation still needed to be determined although it was a “substantial amount” and that no arrests were expected at this stage.

Kganyago added that they had compiled the first part of their report into the construction of a museum in Kuruman with funds from the NLC.

“The report was handed over to Parliament last week while part two will be expected to be dealt with next month. The money that was used was not equivalent to the funds spent on the project. We will get quantity surveyors to conduct a cost analysis.”

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