Criminal charges laid against National Lotteries Commission in South Africa over hiding beneficiaries for two years

The Democratic Alliance remains undeterred in proving that NCL has been hiding alleged corruption

On Monday, The Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Economic Development, Mat Cuthbert, laid charges against the National Lotteries Commission’s (NLC) board and Commissioner at the at Sunnyside Police Station in Tshwane for failing to release their list of beneficiaries for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 financial years, as well as their COVID-19 Relief Fund beneficiaries. 

The DA said ANC Members of Parliament and the NLC have fought tooth and nail to keep this information hidden from parliamentary oversight and the committee chairperson of Trade, Industry and Competition has failed to present a legal opinion solicited from parliament’s legal advisor more than a month ago. 

“The NLC has dismissed our legal opinion as ‘mischievous and malicious’ but we remain undeterred in proving that they have been hiding alleged corruption behind a misinterpretation of Section 67 of the National Lotteries Act 57 of 1997. 

The NLC contends that this piece of legislation forbids them from releasing this information to the public. 

National lottery sa com“However, our legal opinion has found that ‘It is clear that the Lotteries Act does not preclude the disclosure by the Commission to Parliament of the names of Fund beneficiaries. It is more likely than not that the Act requires it. This position is not changed by the Disclosures Act, PAIA, PAJA or regulation 8 of the distribution agency regulations’ and ‘This means that if the Commission refuses to disclose the names of Fund beneficiaries to Parliament on the basis that it is prohibited from doing so, it has acted unlawfully because it has committed an error of law’. 

Cuthbert said, “We look forward to the outcome of the SAPS investigation and pledge to cooperate and assist in any way we can to ensure that justice is served.” 

The DA said that they are committed to ensuring that all funds intended for the most vulnerable members of society are protected from criminal elements who seek to benefit from these funds at their expense. 

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