In a recent development, the High Court in Pretoria has dismissed Arthur Mafokate’s application to have his luxury guest house released from a preservation order.
The court ruling comes after investigations conducted by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) revealed that funds meant for community development projects were misappropriated.
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The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained an order on December 21, 2022, to preserve Mafokate’s property situated at 85 Carslwald Road in Midrand. Mafokate, the sole director of 999 Music, is alleged to have used R7.5 million of the grant funds to purchase the luxurious guest house known as La Villa Rosa.
During the court proceedings, Mafokate argued that his businesses had delivered the required services and that he had committed no offences. However, the NPA presented evidence that only R1.8 million had been used for the intended project, while the remaining funds were diverted for personal gain.
The court agreed with the NPA’s argument, highlighting that SAADA, under Mafokate’s control, had breached the terms and conditions of the grant by using the funds for unauthorised purposes. The court also noted that Mafokate failed to provide a reasonable explanation for how he could afford the guest house without the misappropriated funds.
The dismissal of Mafokate’s application is a significant blow to his attempts to regain control of the guest house. The NPA’s Director of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, has welcomed the court’s ruling, emphasising the NPA’s commitment to fighting corruption at all levels.
Mzinyathi stated, “This judgement paves the way for the AFU to proceed with the final forfeiture of the guest house and other luxury properties purchased with stolen NLC funds. If the forfeiture application is successful, the guest house will be sold at a public auction, and the proceeds will be returned to the NLC.”
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This is not the first time the NPA has taken action against individuals linked to fraudulent activities involving the NLC. Last year, the High Court in Gauteng granted an order to freeze five properties connected to an ongoing investigation into fraud at the commission.
The properties include three luxury properties, a plot, and a portion of a farm. These assets are believed to have been acquired using lottery grant funding meant for community development projects. The NPA and the SIU are determined to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
The court’s decision to uphold the preservation order serves as a reminder that no one is above the law, regardless of their status or influence. It demonstrates the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies working together to combat corruption and protect public funds.
The ruling also sends a clear message to others who may be tempted to misuse public funds for personal gain. The consequences of such actions can be severe, including the loss of assets and potential criminal charges.
As the legal proceedings continue, the NPA remains committed to recovering the misappropriated funds and ensuring that they are used for their intended purpose of community development.
The fight against corruption requires the collective effort of all stakeholders, and this case serves as a testament to the dedication of law enforcement agencies in upholding justice.
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