The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have been granted a preservation order by the High Court of South Africa's Gauteng Division in Pretoria to freeze five properties that are linked to investigations into fraud at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). The investigations have revealed that five non-profit organizations (NPOs) received grant funding of approximately R56.3 million for community development projects in South Africa.
There have been several reports of possible corruption within the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and concerns about the distribution of grant funding meant for community development projects. We covered the NLC fraud case in 2020.
The NPOs that have been implicated in the fraud include Taung Cultural Music and Arts Expo, South African Art and Development Association (SAADA), Dinosys, Matieni Community Centre, and Zibsicraft (Pty) Ltd. The SIU investigations revealed that the acquisition of the preserved properties was funded by the NPOs with money they had received, under the auspices of grant funding, from the NLC. The properties, therefore, constitute proceeds of unlawful activities hence the application for a preservation order pending the final determination of the application for final forfeiture.
In terms of the High Court order, which was granted on 21 December 2022, the following properties have been frozen:
- SAADA, represented by Arthur Mafokate (Musician and director of SAADA), has had a luxury property in Midrand frozen.
- Ramulifho Family Trust, represented by Lesley Ramulifho (Former NLC legal representative and Trustee), has had a luxury property in Cape Town frozen.
- BDH Group, represented by William Elias Huma (Former NCL board member), has had a portion of a farm in Rustenburg frozen.
- Alfred Ntshengedzeni Nevhutanda and Tshilidzi Rachel Nevhutanda (Former NLC board chairman and his wife) have had a plot in Pretoria frozen.
- Marang Family Trust, represented by Tsietsi Maselwa (Head of NLC Legal Division), has had a luxury property in Pretoria frozen.
The individuals and organizations that own these properties are prohibited and restrained from selling, disposing of, leasing, transferring, donating, or dealing in any manner whatsoever with respect to the immovable properties.
The SIU was authorized by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Proclamation R32 of 2020 to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of NLC and the conduct of NLC officials, and to recover any financial losses suffered by the State. This collaboration between the NPA's AFU and SIU is part of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which sees law enforcement agencies coming together to eradicate corruption in South Africa.