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Award-winning ‘Tsotsi’ actors embroiled in lottery corruption

todayFebruary 15, 2024 98

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Leading actors of the award-winning movie ‘Tsotsi’, Terry Pheto and Presley Chweneyagae, have been fingered in what has been dubbed the ‘Lotto heist’ alongside Renowned fashion designer, Thula Sindi.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is on a mission to recoup R1.4 billion worth of funds that were siphoned at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

The investigations are unfolding in three phases, with the second one almost complete. It has implicated a number of high-profile media personalities and senior NLC board members, with Pheto’s name cropping up for the second time in the probe.

SIU head, Andy Mothibi, has labelled the NLC as a criminal enterprise as new findings unraveled a web of corruption.

A grant funding of R5 million was approved to Zibisibix Non-Profit company for a chicken farm in December 2018.

Of the millions paid to Pheto, R140 000 was moved to a company belonging to Sindi and Pheto’s sister.

The SIU says the farm was purchased for R850 000, and the SIU found that the former chairperson of the NLC board Professor Alfred Nevhutanda signed the offer to purchase the farm in the Vaal area.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the farm was purchased to benefit Pheto’s sister.

On the other hand, Chweneyagae is accused of defrauding the Lotteries Commission of R15 million for an arts programme.

It is reported that the South African Youth Movement (SAYM) applied for grant funding on behalf of the Presley Chweneyagae Foundation.

The money was meant for the Take Back the Future Musical, Documentary and Poetry Arts programme, but part of it was instead transferred to a company owned by the former NLC Chief Operating Officer, Philemon Letwaba’s wife, Rebotile Malomane.

Some of the funds were again channeled to Nevhutanda, his son-in-law and a funeral.

Among some of the devastating evidence that has come out of the SIU’s investigation is how money meant to uplift poor women in Marikana and surrounding areas in the North West province on a chicken farming project was swindled.

The fully-fledged Chicken Farm, which includes a workers’ house, guard house, egg packaging storehouse and chicken egg production house, has never been in operation.

R13 million of the siphoned money was awarded to a hijacked NPO by the NLC.

While the Special Investigating Unit says at this stage – it’s not guaranteed that those implicated in the ‘Lotto Heist’ will face criminal charges – so far – eight criminal referrals have been made to the National Prosecuting Unit, while disciplinary proceedings have been recommended for 11 NLC officials.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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