Home South African The plot thickens on lotteries commission investigations

The plot thickens on lotteries commission investigations

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The dissolution of the National Lotteries Commission board, proposed in Parliament this week by Trade, industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has raised more questions.

The dissolution of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) board, proposed in Parliament this week by Trade, industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has raised more questions. File Image: IOL

THE dissolution of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) board, proposed in Parliament this week by Trade, industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has raised more questions than answers as sources close to the matter have raised flouting of procedure and riding roughshod over established mechanisms.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) yesterday conducted raids at the NLC’s offices in Bloemfontein as part of investigations as a parallel considerations are made by Parliament to dissolve the current board, but sources pointed out to numerous flouting of procedure including the fact that the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa establishing investigations into the lottery body had lapsed, that Parliament had been unwittingly presented with findings already thrown out by a disciplinary process as well as that Cabinet had not been brought to speed with the processes.

“The Act of the NLC does not allow for interim Boards, neither does it allow for the body to be put under administration. The NLC does not channel money anywhere as alleged but there are Distribution agencies that handle disbursement of funds to deserving and identified bodies, it is impossible to touch NLC funds under current laws, so all these allegations are a front to compromise the impending licensing process so that specific people benefit from the R200 billion licensing contract,“ the source said.

This is as a heady litany of misappropriations have been cited following an explosive report by the SIU submitted to Parliament last week detailing collusion between NLC officials and purported non-profit organisations.

It found that in a series of transactions, millions of rands at a time were funnelled from the NLC. Funds, which were meant to develop facilities like drug rehabilitation centres, old age homes, and youth empowerment facilities, but instead went towards purchasing cars and luxury homes.

Sources said yesterday the raid on the Bloemfontein offices of the NLC were a regurgitation of the disciplinary process of NLC chief operating office Philemon Letwaba, who was recently exonerated and acquitted by a disciplinary process, but that the same issues were now being bring unprocedurally brought to the fore to press for a dissolution of the board, which had less than three weeks left on its tenure.

“The department deliberately delayed to fill the Board positions and now someone is riding roughshod over the process. The lotteries Act does not allow for a dissolution of the board in this manner. The allegations are not tested, they have not been reviewed and investigations are not complete. The proclamation signed by the President in 2020 has long since lapsed, there is no legal standing for the current actions being taken”, the source said.

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