South African NLC bid to rule corruption probe ‘unlawful’ thrown out

An application made by South Africa’s National Lottery Commission (NLC) to quash a probe into alleged corrupt practices has been thrown out by the Pretoria High Court
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An application made by South Africa’s National Lottery Commission (NLC) to quash a probe into corruption allegations has been thrown out by the Pretoria High Court. 

As reported by Ground Up, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition had commissioned investigators to probe allegations of corruption within the NLC in June 2020. 

In response, NLC lodged its application against the country’s Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, who has ministerial oversight of the lottery.

In recent months, the NLC has been the subject of numerous reports of corrupt grants and malpractice involving multi-million rand payments. 

Last August, a former MP in South Africa claimed that ‘tens of millions’ of rand was paid to the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival organisation, with estimates that R63.5m could have been paid by the NLC. 

Furthermore, a report in September noted that a Special Intelligence Unit questioned the ANC Ward councillor Solly Madau as part of an investigation into a multi-million rand lottery grant paid to a non-profit organisation for destitute children. 

Within its application, the NLC’s primary contention was that Patel had no authority to investigate its activity and had that his appointment of the forensic auditing firm Nexia SAB&T was ‘unlawful. 

Nexia had found details about Denzhe Primary Care, a non-profit organisation that was used to apply for grants totalling R27.5m to build a drug rehabilitation centre near Pretoria, which was the subject of conflict of interest allegations. 

Judge Brenda Neukircher of Pretoria High Court addressed the Denzhe allegations in her judgement, stating: “Interestingly enough the NLC Commissioner’s response was that the NLC had conducted its own investigation into Denzhe and the outcome thereof is that the NLC had “absolved” itself of any responsibility in the matter.”

As well as having its case thrown out, NLC has been forced to pay for Minister Patel’s legal costs.