Ex-South African NLC chief hit by pension freeze over lottery fund allegations

Pension of ex-South African NLC chief Phillemon Letwaba frozen
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A special tribunal has frozen the pension of Phillemon Letwaba, the former COO of the South African National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

As reported by GroundUp, the order was granted on September 16 following an application for a preservation order by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

The embattled Letwaba has faced a series of allegations over his conduct in the role of COO at the South African NLC.

He resigned from his post in late August, just weeks before he was due to appear before a disciplinary hearing over his role in the distribution of lottery funds to several non-profit organisations.

Letwaba’s suspension in July was his third at the South African NLC; in March 2020, he was forced into taking a leave of absence on full pay. He returned to work in July 2021 – 17 months later – before being suspended for a second time in October 2021 following further allegations of corruption.

Charges against him included contraventions of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, as well as sections of the Lotteries Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

Letwaba pleaded not guilty to those charges but, despite his departure from the NLC, the pressure shows no signs of dissipating.

His R2.8m pension is now under threat as investigations into embezzlement allegations continue.

“The SIU investigation had revealed that Letwaba allegedly used friends and family businesses, and trusts to receive money from non-profit organisations for his benefit and that of his family,” the SIU said.

The SIU said it had identified several companies and two trusts linked to Letwaba involved in the misuse of lottery funds: Upbrand Properties, Mosokodi Water Solutions and Drilling, Mosokodi Farming Project, Kaone Wethu, Redtag and the Mosokodi Letwaba Family trusts.