Lotto sequence puzzles S.Africans, spurs fraud claims fraud claims
An unusual sequence of numbers drawn by South Africa's national lottery has left players dumbfounded, sparking accusations of fraud after 20 people won a share of the jackpot.
The consecutive numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and a "PowerBall" number of 10 were the South African National Lottery's winning combination on Tuesday night.
Twenty lucky players hit the jackpot and won 5.7 million rand ($369,000) each. Another 79 won around 6,283 rand ($407) for guessing the sequence but missing the PowerBall.
"Congratulations to tonight's 20 winners of PowerBall draw," the lottery tweeted late on Tuesday.
"These numbers may be unexpected but we see many players opt to play these sequences."
Many perplexed South Africans took to social media on Wednesday alleging the results has been fixed.
"Lotto exposing themselves that they are a scam," posted one Twitter user.
"20 people discussed this and shared that jackpot equally," ventured another. "Absolutely no way in hell that's a coincidence."
Some even called for a judicial graft probe similar to the one looking into alleged corruption during ex-president Jacob Zuma's nine-year tenure.
South Africa's National Lotteries Commission (NLC), which regulates the game, said the six consecutive number combination was unprecedented and vowed to look into the draw.
NLC spokesman Ndivhuho Mafela told AFP the commission will conduct a review "and if there is anything that went wrong we will declare that."
"So we are in the process of doing that currently."
While it is not uncommon for two players to share the jackpot, multiple winners are extremely rare. The numbers are drawn live on TV.
In March 2003, 33 players won a share of the jackpot, according to a South African website that tallies results.