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AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism exposes eSwatini All Nations Bishop Bheki Lukhele for allegedly stealing over R200million from ANC bank accounts.

Tuesday, 30th April, 2024

MBABANE:Bheki Lukhele,the All Nations Bishop who allegedly accumulated questionable wealth has been exposed through the Eswatini Financial Intelligence Unit(EFIU) documents by AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists(ICIJ), Lukhele stands accused of stealing over R200million from bank accounts held by the African National Congress(ANC).

It has been reported that,AmaBhungane gained access to the leaked documents via Swazi Secrets, an ongoing very effective cross border investigative journalism project,in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The report further states that,from 2015 onward,more than R200million would flow from South Africa to Eswatini and into the bank accounts of Archbishop Lukhele and the All Nations church,much of it seemingly with the involvement of eSwatini Begium Ambassador Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu,a brother to King Mswati’s wife Inkhosikati LaMbikiza.

The Ambassador with alleged links to the Bishop and was allegedly used as a conduit for alleged money-laundering, is a former employee of ANC investment company-Chancellor House. 

“A 2019 suspicious transaction report (STR) submitted to the EFIU by First National Bank (FNB) appears to be the first time that regulators were able to detect that some of the money that was deposited into Lukhele and the church’s accounts came from the ANC’s election fund account.FNB in Eswatini suspected that Lukhele was possibly an “accomplice in siphoning of ANC funds”. His partners in the alleged scheme were, according to the STR, supposedly the party’s CFO Mahlalela and former Chancellor House executive, Ambassador Mngomezulu.A few days later the EFIU shared this information with its counterpart in South Africa, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and later initiated a cross border investigation into the South African individuals and entities involved”, reads the report published by AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism on Tuesday morning.

Lukhele, according to the report, failed to respond when questioned by AmaBhungane regarding the allegations contained in the financial intelligence documents.

The international team of investigative journalists then quoted a previous report where this Swaziland News questioned Bishop Lukhele about his source of funds, he claimed to be owning flats rented even by white people.

“A 2019 article published by Swaziland News described Lukhele as “powerful and highly influential”.Responding to questions at the time about his source of income, Lukhele claimed that he had built multiple churches in South Africa, “especially Cape Town”. Over and above that, the man of the cloth told the Swaziland News reporter that he was a shareholder and owned “flats in South Africa and Eswatini that are rented even by white people”, reads the report in part.

The report further states that, Lukhele became the new owner of Mbabane Swallows,making him responsible for running and financially supporting the team, at a time when most public gatherings and events were paused due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

It states that,the team’s leaked bank statements, seen by amaBhungane,reveal that Mbabane Swallows was cash-flush while other teams reportedly struggled to pay their players.

Confronted with all the information above, in April 2020 the EFIU submitted its findings to Eswatini’s anti-corruption investigative agency, saying it was possible that Mngomezulu used his account to “facilitate illegal transactions” to Lukhele.

“The way in which the reported account disposed of the funds so soon after receipt appeared unusual and suspicious,” the EFIU reported.

AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism exposes eSwatini All Nations Bishop Bheki Lukhele for allegedly stealing over R200million from ANC bank accounts.
Bishop Bheki Lukhele(pic:Financial Times).