Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africahas signed an executive order that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) alleged corruption and maladministration in the National Lottery Commission (NLC).
The ordinance, signed by President Ramaphosa on October 20, came into effect when published in the State Gazette on November 6.
The main mandate of the Law on Special Investigative Units and Special Courts is to offset and prevent financial losses for the state caused by corruption, fraud and maladministration.
President Ramaphosa’s decision to involve the SIU follows ongoing reports of corruption related to hundreds of millions of rand lottery grants, amid increasing political pressure and civil society demands that the government take action.
The proclamation includes crimes “that occurred between January 1, 2014 and the date of publication of this proclamation or before January 1, 2014”. It also includes all criminal offenses after the date of publication that are “relevant to the matter, related, incidental or ancillary … or affecting the same persons, organizations or contracts investigated under this proclamation”.
In last Friday’s proclamation, Ramaphosa authorized the SIU to investigate NLC in several areas. This includes serious maladministration relating to its affairs, inappropriate or illegal conduct by its employees or officials, unlawful appropriation or spending of public money or property, illegal, irregular or unauthorized acquisition, transaction, action or practice that affect state property, willful or negligent loss of public funds or damage to public property, violations within the meaning of the Law to Prevent and Combat Corrupt Activities, as well as illegal or inappropriate behavior by a person that has seriously harmed or could harm the interests of the public – ” or a category thereof “.
The proclamation follows shortly after the Hawks’ recent formation to investigate corruption in the lottery. Hawks spokesman Colonel Katlego Mogale said the task team began its investigation after receiving a complaint from the Department of Commerce, Industry and Competition (DTIC) in September. She added that all lottery corruption-related criminal charges filed with the police are now being consolidated for the task team to investigate.
Corruption GuardThe proclamation was welcomed, speaking out on lottery corruption and overseeing the appointment of a new NLC board chairman.
Karam singhThe Director of Legal and Investigations for Corruption Watch said, “We are delighted to have a proclamation on the NLC matter. It is something that, given the stories of many years of alleged corruption, we have followed. We hope the investigation can resolve the serious allegations of financial irregularities as reported. There are issues with systemic political patronage revolving around the NLC and hopefully specific investigation will lead to this being held accountable. “