SIU busts pastor for defrauding AgriSeta

SIU busts pastor for defrauding AgriSeta

SIU busts pastor for defrauding AgriSeta

Special Investigating Unit, spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago.

Special Investigating Unit, spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Mokoteli and Anthony Dywili fraudulently applied to AgriSeta for R1.9m funding in March 2015.

The money was for training and mentoring in a food garden operation in Kimberley, Northern Cape.

The duo claimed that the application was a joint venture between Business Against Crime and Dipalemo Training Strategic Services, an AgriSeta accredited service provider.

“However, such a joint venture did not exist. Dipalemo was not aware of the application and did not receive a cent,” Kganyago added.  

He said in 2018, the investigating unit was authorised to investigate the allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of AgriSeta.

“The SIU investigation revealed the following: Upon receiving the R1.9m  funding, Mokoteli and Dywili concluded a Memorandum of Understanding between Business Against Crime and Northern Cape Empowerment Academy led by Dipalemo, knowing very well that the academy existed only on paper.

“Between June and November 2016, Mokoteli submitted invoices totaling R1.3m to Business Against Crime on behalf of Dipalemo. Mokoteli did not have any relationship with Dipalemo.

“Mokotedi submitted to AgriSeta a close-up report on behalf of Dipalemo knowing very well that Dipalemo did not render any training. Fifty learners were [allegedly] trained and received certificates of competency in food operation.

“They were paid a stipend of R219,000 [and] R381, 564.86 was claimed to have been used for the administration of training.” 

Kganyago said Dywili did not disclose to AgriSeta that R600,000 of the funding had not been spent – which was in violation of the terms of the agreement.

“In July 2016, R317,000 of the funding was paid to a non-profit organisation called Christian for Peace in Africa, which is chaired by Dywili. The bank account of the organisation was opened in June 2016.”

The SIU referred the matter to the NPA in 2019.  

The duo, as well as former AgriSeta CEO Jeremia Sello Madiba, were charged with various counts of fraud and money laundering. 

“Madiba allegedly awarded the tender without the required decision by the board of directors of AgriSeta, therefore, in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.”

He is expected to appear in court on August 28.

A Bloemfontein pastor had to pay back R1.9m to AgriSeta after he defrauded the entity by claiming funding for a nonexistent joint venture. 

Pastor Lerato Raphael Mokoteli made the payment on June 15 as part of a guilty plea agreement. 

A joint statement by the SIU and the NPA said Mokoteli pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering and agreed to pay back the money. 

Mokoteli was given a 10-year sentence for two counts of fraud and five years for two counts of money laundering.

“The sentence was suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not convicted of similar offences during the period,” SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.  

“The money was fraudulently claimed from AgriSeta (Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority), and constituted proceeds of unlawful activities committed between 2016 and 2019,” Kganyago said.