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Lottery Lawyer Entrapped by a Web of Deception



A Tshwane solicitor has asserted that the millions of rands diverted from a Lottery grant intended to construct a drug rehabilitation centre were “fair remuneration” owed to him for his services rendered to a non-profit organisation.

Lesley Ramulifho claims that the R5 million he received from Denzhe Primary Care, which went towards the cost of his luxurious house, was his fee for preparing a grant application to the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and for project managing the construction of the rehab centre as reported by News 24.

He further stated that two payments totalling over half a million rands made by Denzhe for purchasing two Ocean Basket franchises were for work he had done for the non-profit.

Ramulifho’s upscale property in the prestigious Mooikloof Equestrian Estate near Pretoria and the two restaurants have been included in a preservation order obtained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in November of the previous year.

The AFU and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) believe these assets were acquired using Lottery funds designated for the rehab centre.


Ramulifho made these claims in an application filed in April, seeking to overturn the preservation order against the house and restaurants. The application was submitted by Ramulifho and his company, Pro Asset Managers and Financial Consultants (Pty) Ltd, which owns the two restaurants and of which he is the sole director.

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The hearing for the application has been scheduled for August 23.

In an affidavit submitted as part of the original preservation order, Ocean Basket’s chief operating officer, John Camacho, stated that one of the restaurants, located in Carnival Mall, “is currently closed and has been since October 2021… due to non-payment of rentals and there is a legal matter in process between the landlord and the franchisee.” The landlord has seized the restaurant’s assets, according to Camacho.

The second Ocean Basket, situated at Carnival City, is still operational but is in arrears with rent amounting to R1.8 million, per an affidavit by Nicole Peters, a prosecutor attached to the AFU.


Peters mentioned that Ramulifho has been uncooperative with the curator regarding the two restaurants and the Rietfontein property (Ramulifho’s house), making a proper valuation impossible.

A previous investigation conducted by GroundUp revealed how Ramulifho took control of Denzhe and utilised the dormant non-profit organisation to apply for funding. Several years later, the rehab centre remains unfinished while all the money has been spent.

GroundUp has also reported on how Ramulifho treated Denzhe as his ATM, using it to withdraw cash and purchase luxury items such as carpets, clothes, furniture, and airline tickets for himself.

Ramulifho has provided different explanations regarding the Mooikloof house and Ocean Basket payments since GroundUp exposed the Denzhe fraud. In 2019, he claimed in an affidavit that the two payments, totalling over R535,240, made for the Ocean Basket franchises were “loans” that had been repaid.

This claim was made in an urgent application Ramulifho brought forth to force GroundUp, Daily Dispatch, and The Citizen to remove stories about his involvement in the extensive fraud at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).


All three publications opposed Ramulifho’s application, and the judge ruled it as non-urgent, striking it from the roll and awarding costs against Ramulifho, who has yet to pursue the matter.

Ramulifho had previously given a different reason for the R5 million payment from the grant money, stating that it was merely “parked” with the attorney while he opened a new bank.

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