MONROVIA-The National lottery Authority which was set up by an act of the National legislature to among others, supervise all gaming activities in the country, help the disabled, especially those at the group of 77, and other areas, may turn into tatters if president Weah does not step in soon, some employees told this paper.
Due to the day to day running of the entity by its acting head, Neved Kortu, meetings are held at his residence in Paynesville. Moreover, payments from some of the Casions and other betting companies, are not being properly accounted for; a situation which has angered some managers and even some board members.
As a result of this, the Chairman of the board, Titus Charley wrote a communication(a copy of which is in the possession of this paper) to the acting head requesting him to have a meeting to update them on a number of issues. First, to give an update on the Financial transactions at the entity; discuss boxes distributed to the counties by management to collect monies for the wellbeing of the disadvantaged people. Not only that, but also, discussions on the escrow account among others.
After receiving the memo, the head did not attend the meeting because most of the financial documents could not be accounted for. More importantly, the escrow account status remains unknown. To further compound it, the General Auditing Commission-GAC audit carried out, established some level of financial mis steps.
The entity, NLA collects several thousand of United States dollars as well as millions of Liberian dollars from both government and gaming companies in Liberia.
For instance, according its record, just last year alone, it collected over half a million united States dollars from only betting and gaming entities. In some instances, the amount goes higher if these companies violate the laws.
With all these money collected, the entity gives less than 20 percent of its total revenue to the Group of 77; an entity which is one of its primary responsibilities to cater to. But authorities at the Group of 77, have decided not to speak to the issue for fear.
Many of them said they were afraid to speak on the matter bemuse they do not want to be affected by the NLA.
Through verbal conversations, they could not speak to it because it is not within their reach. Nearly everyone approached to establish if they are receiving any allotment or food ration from the Lottery, they decided to remain mute, some saying it is a ‘tabu’ to speak about. Notwithstanding, they are faced with series of different challenges which can be seen from the physical appearance.
But some however spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity. “The lottery cannot even take care of us well. When they bring one small food, it will take them months before they come. They will come here and take plenty pictures. I think they are using us to get money,” one of them said.
However one of them said, a visit was paid there two weeks ago by the lottery officials, but with very small ration which could not even cater to many people. One of them disclosed that they used the home of the Chief of Staff- in the office of Mr. Kortu, Mr. Segun Ogunremi a Nigerian national , as storage center.
“They can take the items to his house to keep. When they finish distributing small one to us, they go to his house in Caldwell to share it among them,” one said.
“We think that the president needs to come into this one or else, people will get rich and his name will spoil,” he added.
With all these, insiders said that senior staff meetings are now held at times to the home of Mr. Kortu in Paynesville. For example, a meeting held on April 23, 2021 at his home, the following officials were present to see about ‘repairing the image’ of the entity.
Those who attended were; Samuel G Toe Director of Administration Theo Wallace Director of Security Karim Kromah Deputy director M &E, Mohammed Saylee Kamara welfare officer, Mr. Segun Ogunremi a Nigerian as COS and the Media and Marketing Director among others.
Another insiders confided in this paper that things were going bad. The money collected from various Casions is huge and could support the entity and take care of its priority areas. For example, only from slot machines alone this year, it collected US$120,00 while intake from Oceano Casino came to US$180,00. Also, from the same Oceanic Casion, parent, Fortuna, parent and Palm paid USD$120,00. Not only that, but also, from winners and Doxxbet and smaller Chines betting entities, amounts to US$197,500.
“Some of the money were not captured in all the records,” another person of authority said.
This, sources at the entity said, some cash for that has been given to some officials of government for special operations. “This one is not captured in this new report. Sometimes, some officials can just call that they need certain amount of money. That money will come from the account,” a top source at the entity who declined to be name said.
On Charity and Social services, it spends only US$135,000. (One hundred and thirty five thousand USD). Goods and services expenditure stands at US$168,947.00 which is higher than amount what goes to the disabled center. Besides these amount, the government gives huge sums of money in the national budget.
But another financial documents in the possession of this paper show a different figure. On goods and services, the NLA captured US$210.747.00.
With this, the disabled center said it is not happy about the level at which such spending is ongoing without them getting large portion of the support.
But more importantly, “things may explode at the lottery one day,” another insider said.
When this paper called the head for comments, he declined. However, a missed call was seen. When this paper returned his call, he responded, there was no answer.