Lottery-Related Fraud: EFCC, Lottery Trust Fund, Collaborate

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has reiterated the Commission’s resolve to work with the National Lottery Trust Fund, NLTF, in combatting corruption in the lottery industry.

The anti-graft agency’s chief stated this when the Executive Secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund, Dr. Bello Maigari paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters, Jabi, Abuja.

In his remarks, Maigari called on the EFCC to play a role in the recovery of statutory remittances due to the industry. He decried the nonchalant attitude of licensed lottery and gaming companies in fulfilling their obligations to government which, according to him, has put intervention programmes of the Trust Fund at risk.

Maigari therefore called on the EFCC to help recover the huge lottery and gaming revenues illegally held by Value Added Services operators, while vowing that NLTF, “will do everything humanly possible to safeguard lottery as a national asset and will continue to support the work of the EFCC to achieve success for the good of the nation.”

Maigari further appealed to the EFCC to establish a desk to help address some of the challenges confronting stakeholders in the industry.

Bawa, speaking through the Commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol, reiterated the Commission’s resolve to work with relevant stakeholders to recover revenue due to the industry.

“Some of the issues you raised, I must say that they are very worrisome; the EFCC has never shied away from doing our work, most especially when it comes to economic crimes, we will try as much as we can to work with major stakeholders to address those issues.

“When we came onboard, this was one of the first things that we actually looked at, lottery and tax; and we have a team that actually deals with that. Recently we designated an officer who handles this kind of issue, and presently we are doing a review of some of those cases,” the EFCC boss said.

Bawa stressed that aside from looking at revenue losses, “We are also not unmindful of the fact that lottery component are being used as avenues for money laundering; so, we are looking at the criminality aspect.”

The chairman promised to expand the Commission’s desk because the EFCC has the mandate and will pursue it diligently.

“We are willing to expand our desk office to three or four people, because it is our mandate, we are not shying away from doing these things,” he assured.

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