Home News Pastor ordered to pay back R1.9 million in fraudulent funding

Pastor ordered to pay back R1.9 million in fraudulent funding

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A pastor was ordered to repay the Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority an amount of R1.9 million after entering into a plea agreement with the State.

File picture: Armand Hough

A BLOEMFONTEIN pastor, Lerato Raphael Mokoteli, was ordered to repay the Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority (AgriSeta) an amount of R1.9 million after entering into a plea agreement with the State.

Mokoteli was charged for fraudulent claims made between 2016 and 2019, where he submitted invoices for offering training and mentorship to a food garden operation in Kimberley.

In a joint statement by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), it was indicated that Mokoteli paid R1.9 million to AgriSeta on June 15.

“In March 2015, Mokoteli and Anthony Dywili fraudulently applied to AgriSeta for R1.9 million funding to provide training and mentoring for a food garden operation in Kimberley. Mokoteli and Dywili claimed that the application was a joint venture between Business Against Crime and Dipalemo Training Strategic Services, an AgriSeta accredited service provider. However, such a joint venture did not exist. Dipalemo was not aware of the application and did not receive a cent.”

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago stated that they investigated allegations of corruption and maladministration in 2018, where it was discovered that the Northern Cape Empowerment Academy in which the accused had entered into a memorandum of understanding along with Business Against Crime, led by Dipalemo, knowing very well that the academy only existed on paper.

“Between June and November 2016, Mokoteli submitted invoices totalling R1.3 million to Business Against Crime on behalf of Dipalemo. Mokoteli did not have any relationship with Dipalemo.

“Mokoteli submitted a close-up report to AgriSeta on behalf of Dipalemo that had never rendered any training.”

He added that 50 beneficiaries were paid a stipend totalling R219,000 and were awarded certificates of competency in food operation.

”They claimed that R381,564.86 was used for the administration of training. Dywili did not disclose to AgriSeta that R600,000 of the funding was unspent, in violation of the terms of the agreement.”

Kganyago indicated that R317,000 of the funding was paid to a non-profit organisation called Christian for Peace in Africa, which is chaired by Dywili, in July 2016.

“The bank account of the organisation was opened in June 2016.”

NPA regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane added that the accused – Moketeli, Dywili along with the AgriSeta chief executive officer Jeremia Sello Madiba, between 2008 and 2017, were charged with various counts of fraud and money laundering.

“Madiba allegedly awarded the tender without the required decision by the board of directors of AgriSeta, in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). He will be appearing in court on a PFMA charge on August 28.”

Senokoatsane said Mokoteli entered into a guilty plea agreement with the State on May 26.

“In terms of the agreement, Mokoteli pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering and agreed to pay back R1.9 million to AgriSeta.

“Mokoteli was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on two counts of fraud and five years for two counts of money laundering on June 14. The sentence was suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not convicted of similar offences during the period.”

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