Gaming the Lottery

Lotto millions spent on two ‘missing movies’

R18,96m was given for documentaries about virginity testing, albino rights

Almost R19-million in Lotto money appears to have gone down the drain, in the name of defending the rights of albinos and educating the public on virginity testing. A Dispatch investigation found that these millions from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) were supposed to be spent on making two film documentaries on these socially relevant topics. But no movies could be found. All Dispatch was shown was a two-minute trailer of a virginity testing “documentary ”. The Lotto funds were awarded in 2015 to two brand new non-profit organisations, Dirang Mmoho, and Izimvo 447, via an established company, Ingomso Film Skills and Development. Ingomso, which acted as their “agents” to help procure the funding, is owned by two men prominent in the television industry, producer Zuko Nodada and former Gen e rat i o n s actor Dumisani Mbembe, who also directed the award-winning film I m b ewu . The NLC confirmedthat Ingomso, acting as a conduit for two companies, Dirang Mmoho and Izimvo 447, received R18.9m in three tranches over two years. The money gifted to Izimvo 447 was to shoot a documentary about virginity testing, while Dirang Mmoho was to produce a documentary exposing and countering prej udice against albinos. ● According to the NLC’s 2015 annual report, Ingomso, as a conduit for Izimvo, a grant of R7.5m in August 2015, for which Ingomso received an “agent’s fee” of R150,000. This grant fell under the Eastern Cape Arts, Culture and Heritage sector of the National Lotto Co m m i ss i o n . ● Also in 2015, Ingomso received R6.4m, on behalf of Dirang Mmoho Community Development and in return was paid a fee of R150,000. Bank statements from Ingomso seen by the
Dispatch do show that R5m was transferred to Dirang Mmoho’s account in 2015. Dirang Mmoho was registered with the provincial department of social development as an NPO on August 12 2015, a month before they were awarded the multimillion-rand g ra n t . Events coordinator for the SA Albinism Society Mpumi Mazibuko said they had never seen any such documentary. “We are shocked at the amount they were funded for but never delivered. As a society we could have done better with that money and such a documentary could have helped a lot in educating our communities about albinism,” Mazibuko said. A woman, who identified herself only as “Thuli” from Dirang Mmoho, could not provide any proof that the documentary had been produced. “I have long stopped working on that project so I don’t have the documents or anything,” she said.
Izimvo 447 project manager Mduduzi Mchunu said: “They had (sic) produced a cultural documentary Ukuhlolwa which was shot in Mpumalanga and completed in KwaZu l u – Nat a l . ” He refused to provide proof the documentary had been completed saying this would be a “copyright infringement”. The NLC could also not provide proof the two documentaries existed, but insisted that everything was above board. Commission spokesperson Ndivhuho Mafela said: “As with all NLC-funded projects, due diligence was followed in the adjudication as well as monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the projects complied with the stipulations contained in their grant agreements with the N LC . ” Bank statements seen by the Dispatch also show Ingomso deposited R960,000 to the account of a third company called Impucuzeko. One of the directors of Izimvo 447,
Arthur Mthembu, has the same address as that of Impucuzeko. Mthembu said that everything was above board, but when asked for what reason Impucuzeko got the R960,000 his answer was: “Both Izimvo and Ingomso are our protégés. We mentored them. The amount sent by Ingomso to our accounts was part of our services we provided Izimvo (447) and that is legal.” He did not elaborate. Nodada said Izimvo 447 directors had approached them to act as a conduit but they were not involved in the execution of the project. His business partner, Mbembe, said that at the time of the Lotto applications and payments, he was “not aware” Ingomso was being used as a conduit for the albinism and viriginity documentary movies. Nodada insisted that everything they did was above board. “We were used as a conduit by these companies, something that is legal according to the Lotto Act. What we did was above board where we gave the money to the said co m p a n i e s . “Where we failed was to make sure that these companies delivered on their mandate. Sitting here I cannot vouch whether they did the work or not but what I have is proof that their money was given to them,” he said. Curiously Izimvo 447 is is registered to the same address as Ingomso – 34 Dangwana Street, Mount Frere although the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) registry indicates the owners and offices of Izimvo 447 are based in KwaZulu-Natal. When asked about this, the NLC’s legal counsel, Tsietsi Maselwa, said: “When Izimvo 447 applied, their address was different from I n g o m s o. ” The NLC’s annual report indicates the project was from the Eastern Cape. When asked how the project was listed under the Eastern Cape without anyone from the province benefiting, Maselwa said it was “a national project and such (an issue) had no bearing”.