Lottery coffer ‘bleeds’

…bankruptcy looms

MONROVIA-The National Lottery Authority(NLA) which was set up to among other things generate funds and help with development work, looks like is rather becoming a liability and its financial standing has gone bad that it could be declared bankrupt soon if care is not taken, an investigation has uncovered.

This paper’s investigation has established that instead of generating funds, the government of Liberia rather allotted in its 2020-2021 budget of over 200,000 USD(Two hundred thousand united States dollars)

The entity has multiple means to raise funds. Instead of managing what it generates, it has embark on a spending spree that is affecting the coffers.

According to financial records in the possession of this paper, it show that money accrued from betting and gaming companies is over half a million united states dollars just for 2021.

The entity is noted for generating money in the past, but was engulfed with corruption, which led president George Weah to suspend its former head Martin Kollie; who later challenged it to the supreme court and the decision was revered because his tenure did not expire at the time.

However, after the expiration, he was removed following an investigation carried out. His deputy for operation Mr. Neved Kortu was appointed as acting had until president Weah could appoint a director.

The National Lottery is a government entity that was enacted into law in 2014. After its original act was repealed.

The Liberia National Lottery Authority is a Government owed entity that has the statutory mandate to engage in lottery and other gaming or chance businesses to generate funds for the Government of Liberia or applied portion of the funds, income and monies generated from the Corporation’s business activities to support charitable and social services activities such as, but not limited to the disabled, public welfare institutions, educational, cultural and scientific.

For instance, last month, at its GT bank account, one of the accounts gambling companies deposit funds into, a check of US$7, 000(Seven thousand united States dollars) was made to be withdrawn. However,after series of contestation from some top managers at the entity for justification, it did not pass.

The same last month, for instance, over US$100.00(One hundred thousand United States dollars) was spent without any justifiable reason for internal activities; a situation which annoyed many employees and some top CDcians.

Not only that but also, over L$250 million Liberia Dallas was just spent towards the ongoing ministerial football tournament.

Again, according to the bank record, on May 21, 2021, over LD300.00 Liberian dollars voucher was raised for out of town trip for only five persons.

Also the Deputy director M&E Mr. Karim Kromah is alleged that he received US$5000(Five thousand united sates dollars) from a Chines company for protection fee against other companies that doing similar business .

On Foreign travels, this year, over US$28,000 (Twenty eight thousand United States dollars) was spent while US$4,000(four thousand United States dollars) went on domestic travels.

Ironically, its revenue projection for 2020-2021 was US$648,000, but the operating expense rather went to US$735,907.00 and the board honorarium stands at about US$36,000. This shows that it spent more than it generates.

According to records again, from over US$1M, the current amount is said to be less than US$160,00(One hundred and sixty thousand united States dollars) at the bank. The year has not gone half way yet.

The institution also has the exclusive rights to engage in lottery businesses, create the means and structure for the arrangement of the distribution of prices which could be won through chance by purchasers of numbered tickets from among the general public and in any other gaming or chance business, devise, create and structure any game or chance of whatever kind or nature, such as, but not limited to lotto and related business and conduct the same within the Republic of Liberia.

When the head of the entity was called, Mr. Kortu to comment on this over the weekend, he declined. A call from him later, went off. But when this paper returned his call, he said, “no. I never call you. All I know I am taking pay. I am working.”

Investigation continues.

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