Lottery looter is living the jet set life
“When life gives you lemons, buy a freaking jet” - Lesley Ramulifho
Dodgy lawyer Lesley Ramulifho, who has benefited to the tune of tens of millions of rands from Lottery grants and legal work for the National Lotteries Commission, enjoys a champagne lifestyle jetting around the world for holidays at exotic getaways.
Both his house on the luxury Mooikloof Country Estate near Pretoria, and a mountainside house in Simonstown were frozen after the National Prosecuting Authority’s Assets Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained a preservation order over them.
The orders were granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which is used to combat organised crime, money laundering and criminal gang activities.
GroundUp previously revealed how a nonprofit organisation, Denzhe Primary Care, was hijacked by Ramulifho and then used to obtain Lottery grants of R27.5-million to build a drug rehabilitation centre near Pretoria. The rehab was so shoddily built that it is falling apart just a few years later.
Ramulifho is opposing the orders on his houses and two Ocean Basket restaurants he owns in Pretoria, which the AFU says were paid for with Lottery money. He is also appealing his loss against GroundUp.
But his legal woes do not seem to have clipped his wings.
We thought Ramulifho was camera-shy until we found his Instagram page. Here he describes himself as a “global citizen” and openly displays his life of luxury and jet- setting.
His holiday destinations, according to his posts, include Paris, Cuba, Colombia, the United States, Seychelles, Turkey and Dubai, with stays at luxury hotels, like the Four Seasons and the Radisson Blu.
His 132,000 followers appear to revel in his posts, showering him with compliments and fire emojis, like these:
| You always ontop of the world 🌎 🔥🔥🔥– @figodelmar
| OnPoint brother 🙌– @trevor_sindane
| Coolest dude from SA🔥🔥🔥– @marcooliviersculpturecasting
Ramulifho’s Instagram adventures appear to have started shortly after international Covid travel restrictions were lifted in late 2020.
His clothes are branded and he has a penchant for expensive watches, some of them on display on his Instagram page.
His 2021 feed shows him back in Turkey. According to his Instagram, he visited Cape Town before heading to Dubai for “business” in late January. He then spent some time at his Pretoria mansion, before heading back to Cape Town, where he checked in at the penthouse suite of the Radisson Blu. According to his location and timeline, he stayed here four times from March to May.
In August 2021, Ramulifho spent a week in the Maldives, enjoying the sea and sun. In early November, he shared a photo of himself with world-renowned South African artist Marco Olivier and a custom sculpture made by Olivier. Later in the month, he returned to Cape Town (again at the Radisson). Ramulifho posted himself in New York, Paris, and finally Mexico, where he spent Christmas and New Years Eve. While there, he visited Pablo Escobar’s mansion in Colombia.
According to his Instagram, Ramulifho checked into the Radisson Blu penthouse enough times for the hotel to quip in an Instagram comment that it was his “Cape Town home”. This is also the year that he boasts having bought a jet. He wrote on Instagram: “When life gives you lemons, buy a freaking jet” – but whether this is true or just a bid for internet clout is unclear.
This year he was back to Paris and Turkey, and, most recently, the Seychelles, where he’s seen sipping champagne on a beach, touting R12,000 Off-White sneakers and what appears to be a white gold watch.
He shared his location at the Four Seasons Resort, Seychelles, where one night can cost just upwards of R20,000. According to his Instagram stories, he flew to Seychelles on 8 August and left 12 days later (business class, of course).
There are also photos of him in a private aircraft, apparently about to board a helicopter, and chilling out in First Class on commercial flights. A November 2021 post shows a Ferrari trip around what looks like the Cape Winelands.
There are also posts of Ramulifho with his close friend Phillemon Letwaba, the NLC’s former chief operating officer. Letwaba, who played a key role in the looting of the Lottery, resigned under a cloud last year just before he was due to face a disciplinary hearing to answer corruption-related charges and other charges of abusing his position to enrich himself and his family.
The caption for one of the Instagram photos of him and Letwaba, both dressed to the nines in dress suits and quaffing drinks, reads: “Dreams not enough … we’ve to go get that shit #dreamchasers”.
No expense was spared decorating and furnishing his home in Mooikloof. The decor includes “Lesley’s own version of the Last Supper” painted on the dining room ceiling, according to a source who knows him and has visited the house several times. All the furniture is “designer” and there is also a lot of fine art on the walls. His Marco Olivier sculpture sits at the side of the pool.
The house has both a formal and informal lounge, with Hermes throws covering the lounge suite in one of them, GroundUp was told. “There’s lots of designer stuff, like Louis Vuitton and Gucci.”
Ramulifho lives on the ground floor of the house, with the upstairs reserved for guests.
“He has a huge walk-in cupboard in his bedroom filled with designer clothes and a wall covered with racks filled with expensive sneakers. He also has a collection of valuable watches, some of which he has boasted cost millions.”
Ramulifho didn’t respond to a request for comment. Letwaba responded: “Don’t you have anything better to report than gossip?”
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