FG urged to probe lottery commission over fraud allegations
A member of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission Governing Board, Abubakar Rajab, has called on the federal government to probe the administration of the Director-General of the Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila, over intentional diversion of funds from the Treasury Single Account (TSA), among other fraud allegations.
He alleged that Gbajabiamila has spent over N26billion in 4 years from the Commission’s internally generated revenue (IGR).
Rajab, who made this disclosure while addressing journalists in Abuja, said the fraud allegation puts a stain on President Muhammadu Buhari’s reputation as an anti-corruption crusader.
According to him: “The Lottery Regulatory Commission, as one of the revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government, has operated as a liability rather than generating income for the government.
“The Director-General has always spent from the Commission’s IGR, which ideally should not even be accessible if properly remitted in the first instance. This expenditure from the IGR over the years has run into billions of naira, funds that should have been remitted to government coffers for the good of all.
“In 2017, over N500,000,000 was spent from the Commission’s IGR. In 2018, over N960,000,000 was spent without appropriation as against N73,000,000 appropriated for 2018 as administrative expenses.
“In 2019, over N1,000,000,000 was spent without appropriation as against N75,000,000 appropriated for 2019 as administrative expenses. In 2020, over N1,000,000,000 was spent,” he said.
He noted that lottery companies with branches in other African countries were generating revenue to boost their respective countries but that has not been the case in Nigeria.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria with a population of over 200 million barely makes only N2 billion annually. Senegal with a population of 12 million generates 200 billion CFA (about N125 billion) annually. Ivory Coast, with 25 million population generates 500 billion CFA (about N312 billion) annually. Burkina Faso with a population of 20 million generates 900 billion CFA (about N562billion) annually.”
He disclosed that going by the DG’s date of first appointment (18th August 2017), as reflected on his payslip, his tenure has expired a little over two months already.
Meanwhile, efforts by The Guardian to get reactions from the Director-General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Gbajabiamila, through several calls and text messages to the Head, Public Affairs of Lottery Commission, Magnus Ekechukwu, were unsuccessful.