In a James Bond movie-like scene armed robbers held up a courier driver and fled with a USB drive containing sensitive information regarding an investigation into alleged corruption at the National Lotteries Commission on Monday.

aDemocratic Alliance member of parliament and spokesperson on trade, industry and competition, Mat Cuthbert said that a courier service had arrived at the DA Federal Head Office in Cape Town to deliver a USB drive with sensitive information that the party had requested from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). He said the information related to an ongoing corruption investigation that the DA had 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,” Cuthbert said.

Watch the video of the incident here.

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,’” he said.

“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,” he said.

He said the incident had also raised “serious security concerns” regarding the safety of whistleblowers.

“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,” he said

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