Lottery Boss Suspended as South African Corruption Probe Heats Up

A recommendation from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has resulted in the suspension of National Lotteries Commission (NLC) Chief Phillemon Letwaba, writes Raymond Joseph for GroundUp.

Letwaba had recently returned to work less than three months after after a 17-month "leave of absence" when the NLC appointed audit firm Sekela Xabiso to probe improper spending. The SIU began its investigation into corruption at the NLC after President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a presidential proclamation in November 2020 authorising the probe.

After GroundUp reported that Letwaba was back at work in July 2021, Trade and Industry minister Ebrahim Patel, who has oversight over the Lottery, asked the NLC to supply a copy of the decision its board had taken authorising his return. Patel also asked for a copy of the SkX investigation showing that it had cleared Letwaba.

Faced with the SIU evidence and pressure from Patel, the NLC suspended Letwaba. According to two sources inside the NLC, the suspension was announced to provincial managers. They were told that Letwaba would "be away for a while".

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