DA lays criminal charges against NLC for failing to release list of grant beneficiaries

Issued by Mat Cuthbert MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Economic Development
13 Jul 2020 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Mat Cuthbert MP, as well as pictures here, here and hereThe affidavit can be accessed here.

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid charges at the at Sunnyside Police Station in Tshwane against the National Lotteries Commission’s (NLC) board and Commissioner for failing to disclose their beneficiaries of pro-active grant funding.

This action was decided upon after the DA sought a legal opinion, which found that the NLC had acted unlawfully by not releasing their list of beneficiaries for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 financial years, as well as their Covid-19 Relief Fund beneficiaries.

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.

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”.

Therefore, we have put together a comprehensive affidavit along with several annexures detailing how the NLC has violated its duty to account to Parliament and the South African public.

There is overwhelming evidence in this regard, and we believe that it is our duty as public representatives to report this matter to the relevant law enforcement agency, the South African Police Service (SAPS).

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

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