SIU scores victory in NLC related case

Monday, September 11, 2023

The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed, with costs, an application by a doctor implicated in alleged wrongdoing at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), seeking to interdict the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and compel it to change its team investigating the matter.

The SIU said Dr John Marite had also sought to “interfere in the way the SIU conducts its investigations”.

“In a judgment handed down on 5 September 2023, Acting Judge Hein Snyman said that the application against the SIU by Dr Marite amounted to an abuse of process,” the SIU said on Monday.

According to the corruption busting unit, an investigation revealed that Marite’s company – Right Play Health Services – had received approximately R7.2 million from non-profit organisation Zibsimode NPC, which has links to former NLC board chairperson, Alfred Nevhutanda.

“Zibsimode received grant funding of approximately R20.2 million from the NLC for the roll-out of a public campaign and culturally sensitive medical intervention projects aimed at achieving traditional circumcision practice. The non-profit organisation contacted Dr Marite, a medical doctor based in Pretoria, and his Right Play Health Services to perform the male circumcision service.

“On 31 May 2017, Dr Marite invoiced Zibsimode and a payment of R7 292 700 was made into the bank account of Right Play Health Services. Two days later, Right Play Health Services deposited approximately R2 009 700 to an entity called Ironbridge Travel Agency [linked to former NLC COO Phillemon Letwaba] without a sign of any work being done.

“On the same day, Right Play Health Services further transferred R2 013 000.00 to Ndzuku Trading entity owned by Malwandla Solly Siweya, a respondent in the Dr. Marite court application against the SIU. He wanted the court to order Siweya to stop harassing him. Siweya’s Ndzuku Training also received three payments from Zibsimode totalling R4.1 million,” the SIU said.

Upon investigation by the unit, Marite allegedly did not respond to questions sent to him and rather approached the courts.

“The SIU interviewed Dr Marite on the payment he received from Zibsimode, and payments he made to Ironbridge Travel Agency and Ndzuku Trading. When he failed to answer questions from SIU investigators, he approached the High Court to seek an order for the SIU to change its NLC investigation team and interfere in the way the unit conducts its investigations.

“The SIU welcomes the High Court’s ruling and views the court challenge by Dr Marite as an abuse of process, something the Judge agreed with, and an attempt to avoid accountability. The ruling paves way for the unit to finalise its investigation relating to R7.2 million received by Dr. Marite and ensures the independence of the SIU is not compromised,” the unit said. –