Free State pastor convicted of fraud pays back the money

A pastor in Bloemfontein has paid back R1.9 million in funding fraudulently received from the Agricultural Sector Education Training Authority (AgriSeta).

According to a statement by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Lerato Mokoteli and accomplice Anthony Dywili, applied for funding at AgriSeta under the guise of providing training and mentoring in food garden operations in Kimberley.

The unit said the two claimed that the application was a joint venture between Business Against Crime and another AgriSeta-accredited service provider, Dipalemo – a joint venture which did not exist.

“Upon receiving the R1.9 million 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 exists only on paper.

“Mokotedi submitted to AgriSeta a close-up report on behalf of Dipalemo knowing very well that Dipalemo did not render any training. 50 learners were trained and received a certificate of competency in food operation. They were paid a stipend of R219 000…R381 564.86 was claimed to have been used for the administration of training. Dywili did not disclose to AgriSeta that R600 000 of the funding was unspent, in violation of the terms of the agreement,” read the statement.

In July 2016, some R317 000 of the funding was then paid to a non-profit organisation chaired by Dywili. The SIU has referred evidence of criminality to the NPA for criminal prosecution.

“The duo, together with Jeremia Madiba, AgriSeta CEO between 2008 and 2017, 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 (PFMA). He will be appearing in court on a PFMA charge on 28 August 2023,” 

The statement also stated that, on May 26, Moketeli entered into a guilty plea agreement with the State.

In terms of the agreement, Mokoteli pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering and agreed to pay back R1.9 million to AgriSeta.

Last month, 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 the condition that he is not convicted of similar offences during the period.

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