SIU obtains preservation order to freeze pension benefits of ex-Lottery COO

By Lovabledaniels 46 Views
Phillemon Letwaba

Phillemon Letwaba

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has obtained a preservation order to freeze the pension benefits of the former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), Phillemon Letwaba.

The SIU was granted the preservation order by the Special Tribunal.

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SIU preservation order

The order interdicts Liberty Group, the pension administrator, from paying out pension benefits to Letwaba to the value of approximately R2.8 million, pending the final determination of an application to be brought by the SIU against him within 60 days.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the unit approached the Special Tribunal on an urgent basis to freeze Letwaba’s pension benefits after he resigned from the NLC in August, ahead of a disciplinary hearing into his role in the distribution of NLC funds to several non-profit organisations (NPO).

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An investigation by the SIU into the affairs of NLC revealed that Letwaba allegedly benefited personally from monies received by NPOs from the organisation.

The SIU probe revealed that he allegedly used friends and family businesses as well as trusts to receive money from NPOs for his benefit and that of his family.

Among the businesses and trusts that are alleged to have illegally benefited included Unbrand Properties and the Letwaba Family Trust.

“In one of several NLC funded projects investigated by the SIU, it was revealed that a Limpopo-based NPO received approximately R25 million for the refurbishment of a torched school in Vuwani.

“Twelve days after the NPO received the money, it allegedly transferred approximately R4 million to Unbrand Properties without evidence of work being done and in violation of the funding agreement,” Kganyago said in a statement.

He said the preservation order was a continuation of the implementation of the SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover assets and financial losses suffered by state institutions and to prevent further losses.

“The SIU was, in terms of proclamation R32 of 2020, authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa 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.

“The proclamation covers offences which took place between 1 January 2014 and 6 November 2020, the date of publication of this proclamation, or which took place prior to 1 January 2014.

“It also covers any offences after the proclamation date that is relevant to, connected with, incidental to the matters or involve the same persons, entities or contracts investigated under authority of proclamation R32 of 2020.”

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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