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Businessman at centre of Soweto sports complex Lottery fund probe arrested for fraud

Businessman at centre of Soweto sports complex Lottery fund probe arrested for fraud
A multi-million rand sports complex in Soweto funded by the National Lotteries Commission has never been built and the site is being used to dump rubbish. Petrus Sedibe, who is being investigated by the NLC in connection with the grants, has now been charged with defrauding a relative’s trust fund. (Archive photo: Masego Mafata)

Petrus Sedibe charged with defrauding a trust fund.

The businessman at the centre of a probe into a multi-million rand Lottery grant for a Soweto sports complex which has never been built has been arrested for fraud. Petrus Sedibe was arrested during an early morning raid at his Protea Glen home by Johannesburg’s Commercial Crime Unit.

He is accused of defrauding the trust fund of a relative to the tune of about R900,000. His relative had received a payout from the Road Accident Fund after being severely injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Sedibe was released on R3,000 bail after he appeared at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Friday, 14 July 2023, a few hours after his arrest. The matter was remanded to 21 August.

More charges could be added following further investigations, according to a source close to the investigation.

A warrant for Sedibe’s arrest was issued about nine months ago following an investigation that began in late 2019 by Alchemy Consolidated Business Holdings, a forensic auditing and investigation firm.

The investigation was prompted by a relative of the beneficiary of the trust, who enquired about money paid out. It was then discovered that the banking details on the invoices and quotes submitted to the trust, had been changed to one of five bank accounts, which allegedly belong to Sedibe and his companies.

GroundUp has previously reported that the National Lotteries Commission paid R6-million of a R9-million grant in 2021 to Motheo Sports and Entertainment Foundation, linked to Sedibe, for a sports facility in Soweto. Two tranches of R3-million were paid to Motheo and the NLC only stopped payment of the final R3-million tranche after requests for progress reports from Motheo were ignored. The complex has never been built.

Sedibe identified himself as Motheo’s “chairperson” or as its “deputy secretary” in correspondence relating to the lottery grant. He transferred R750,000 of the grant to a private company, of which he is the sole director. Several purchases of goods and cash withdrawals, which appear to have nothing to do with the funded project, were made within days of the R3-million payment, using a Motheo FNB bank card.

Sedibe is also linked to at least eight NLC grants under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit. The NLC, which has initiated steps to recover the R6-million paid to Motheo, has also launched an internal investigation into the grants involving Sedibe, which total over R12.6-million.

Sedibe failed to properly answer our request for comment. DM

First published by GroundUp.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Michael Forsyth says:

    When the heck will the SIU get its act together and start completing their investigations? It can’t be rocket science. It would appear as if there is overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing.

    • Nic Bosveld says:

      2 years on and the SIU is still ”investigating”. The picture above says it all, to you and me, but apparently means nothing to the SIU. Some investigators they employ.
      Disgraceful, to say the least.

  • Bruce Anderson says:

    About time an example is made of persons put in a position of trust who then abuse that trust. May the courts rule and may the sentence be heavy with no options to appeal.

  • Abel Mngadi says:

    For us as taxpayers, it is frustrating to see these fraudsters roaming the streets, after receiving bail, with their cases taking for ever to be completed. Is it so difficult to complete this case as speedily as possible? Don’t think so, unless I’m missing something

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    When we get rid of the ANC next year, I would like to propose some changes to the way cases are prosecuted in South Africa. I would like to see, firstly, when there is overwhelming evidence, that prosecutions are immediate. Second, that there is a ‘three strikes and you’re in’ ruling – in that you get three objections to procedure etc before your bail is revoked until the case is over: this would stop the rich and politically connected from their Stalingrad tactics of simply bringing up ‘technicalities’ that have no chance of success in a bid to delay their trial and hope that the evidence disappears. Third, lawyers forfeit their earnings to the state for frivolous objections or submissions. Simple solutions to speed up proceedings and unclogging our court systems.

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    How can the NLC pay out R6.0m before one sod of earth has been turned?
    Since when does any business hand over millions of Rand to anyone before the project even starts?
    Surely the NLC would monitor progress and pay out as the work progressed. Perhaps they are not aware of Quantity Surveyors who assess progress and qualify the work done.
    Following this program would prevent these massive losses, provided of course, that opportunity collusion is prevented in the first place!

    • Geoff Woodruff says:

      I believe that the easiest way to stop these tenderpreneurs would be to make them put the cash upfront and reimburse them as they complete each stage of their contract. That way only reputable companies would be able to get the project.

      • Libby De Villiers says:

        That is the way building contracts work in the real world. It is only when the ANC, payouts to their compatriots and tax payers’ money is involved that it works the other way round. As in the real world where people work for their money, you only get the job or the contract if you have the credentials to prove that you can do the job, not when your mother’s cousin’s stepfather’s sister knows somebody in government. or even better if you know something about somebody in government that nobody else must know. Then you are in the pound seats my friend!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    This is chicken feed compared to what his “ brothers” have stolen. Go after the big fish politicians rather and then perhaps the SA public will believe that this government is heading in the right direction.

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