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MPs demand update on Special Investigation Unit’s Lot...

South Africa

GroundUp

MPs demand update on SIU’s overdue Lottery probe

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel has said he has instructed lawyers to end the term of the current members of the board, which is not quorate. (Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

DA’s Mat Cuthbert says the Special Investigation Unit has already missed a deadline given by the President.

Members of Parliament have asked that the Special Investigation Unit give a detailed progress report on its investigations into alleged corruption and maladministration involving the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

The decision was taken on Tuesday during a meeting of the Parliament’s Trade, Industry and Competition Committee when it decided on its programme for 2022.

The committee, which has oversight of the NLC, instructed its secretariat to contact the SIU to schedule a date in the first quarter of next year.

Democratic Alliance MP Mat Cuthbert said that the SIU had not met timelines set out in a response by President Cyril Ramaphosa in May to a written parliamentary question. “Due to the large number of matters identified for investigation, the SIU has divided the investigation into phases,” Ramaphosa said in his May response. “The first phase, consisting of 14 investigation focus areas, is likely to be completed by 30 June 2021. The second and final phase of the investigation is likely to be completed by 31 December 2021.”

The first deadline has not been met, while the second is due in just over three weeks.

Ramaphosa signed a proclamation in October 2020, authorising the SIU to launch the investigation, following ongoing reporting by GroundUp of dodgy Lottery grants.

Cuthbert had asked the President several questions, including whether any charges had been brought based on the SIU investigation; whether any assets of implicated people had been seized; and when he expected the investigation “and a comprehensive report” would be completed.

In his response, Ramaphosa said, “The SIU is preparing to refer evidence pointing to criminal action to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and to approach the Special Tribunal in order to freeze assets belonging to several individuals … Due to the fact that investigations are ongoing, there have as yet been no arrests, no charges have been brought against any persons, and no assets have been seized.” DM

First published by GroundUp.

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