A courier service was hijacked on arriving at the DA head office in Gardens. Picture: ScreengrabBy IOL Reporter 12h ago

Cape Town – Gunmen have hijacked the delivery of sensitive National Lotteries Commission (NLC) documents outside the DA Federal Head Office in Gardens, Cape Town.

The DA said on Tuesday it found it ’’extremely suspicious’’ gunmen would intercept the information the NLC was so reluctant to hand over.

According to Mat Cuthbert, deputy spokesperson on trade, industry and competition, a courier service arrived at the head office yesterday afternoon to deliver a USB drive with sensitive information the party had requested from the NLC relating to an ongoing corruption investigation the DA has been pursing.

’’At that very same time and similar to a James Bond movie scene, four gunmen intercepted the delivery and made off with the USB drive,’’ said Cuthbert.

’’The DA had previously submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application regarding a service provider that was contracted by the NLC to in essence advise the NLC on how to distribute Covid-19 relief worth R150 million. The NLC paid the service provider R460 287.50.

’’Despite efforts by the NLC to block previous attempts by the DA to gain access to this information, our PAIA application was granted and the NLC promised that yesterday all requested information would be delivered to the DA federal head office in Cape Town on a USB stick due to the voluminous nature of the information requested.

’’The DA finds it extremely suspicious that gunmen would intercept the information that the NLC was so loath to hand over. It certainly appears to be an orchestrated attempt, by who we can only speculate at this point, to circumvent the due process of the PAIA application and keep the information contained regarding the beneficiaries of this NLC tender from public view.’’

Cuthbert said it raised serious security concerns regarding the safety of whistleblowers, including himself.

’’The DA urges SAPS to ensure that all involved in this heist be arrested as a matter of urgency, and we urge the NLC to honour the PAIA application and send the information again.’’

Western Cape police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi confirmed that Cape Town Central police are investigating a case of robbery.

’’Three unknown males approached the complainant and his accomplice in Mill Street Cape Town on Monday at about 14:30, where they were scheduled to deliver goods. One of the suspects forced the passenger into the vehicle, upon which they took sealed boxes from the vehicle and fled the scene in a VW Polo.

’’The suspects were later apprehended by members of the Flying Squad when their vehicle was brought to a halt near to Ascension and Duinefontein Road in Heideveld.

“Three suspects, aged 29, 32 and 39, were arrested and detained on charges of possession of presumed stolen property, possession of unlicensed firearm and possession of stolen vehicle,’’ Swartbooi said.

The investigation into the matter is being conducted by the provincial detectives.

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