Thursday, September 05, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mawere faces R5m SA lottery fraud charge
11/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

COMMENT - It is difficult to expect ethical behaviour from a man who owns an asbesthos mine. - MrK

SOUTH Africa-based businessman Mutumwa Mawere is facing charges of allegedly defrauding the national lottery of nearly R5 million, according to a report. Mawere, who holds both South African and Zimbabwean citizenship, was picked up in Johannesburg last week. He was initially reported to have been arrested for tax fraud.

But, according to local media reports on Sunday, the former SSM Holdings owner is alleged to have used his African Heritage Society organisation to fraudulently secure a R4.5m grant from the National Lottery Distribution Fund, which is predominantly used to fund charities.

South Africa’s crack crime fighting unit, The Hawks, confirmed they had been investigating allegations that Mawere used lottery funds to enrich himself.

He allegedly applied for the grant under the pretence that his organisation would build a “corporate heritage museum” in Rivonia, Johannesburg, to promote South African heritage. According to Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko, Mawere lied to the lotteries board about how the money was spent.

“He claimed that a two-day workshop was held at a luxury hotel in Sandton, but it was later revealed that it had in fact hosted the launch of his book titled Conversations with Mawere,” Ramaloko told the newspaper.

Lotteries board chief executive Charlotte Mampane told the newspaper her organisation was aware of the investigation, but had not been formally informed about his arrest.

Mawere’s lawyer, Rod Montano, told the Sunday Independent that preparations were being made for his bail hearing on Wednesday.

The businessman successfully sued the Zimbabwe government last month after being refused a passport and publicly backed MDC-T leader and out-going Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the July 31 elections.

A former World Bank employee, Mawere was self-exiled from Zimbabwe in 2004 following legal troubles at Shabanie Mine where he was accused of defrauding the government of Z$300 billion.

He successfully fought attempts by Zimbabwean authorities to extradite him but subsequently lost his companies which were expropriated.

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