Nigerian lottery trust fund in N7bn fraud mess

The Nigerian National Lottery Trust Fund has been enmeshed in fraud running into over N7bn, the Senate Committee on Finance revealed on Monday.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, made the allegation during investigation into remittances by Ministries, Departments and Agencies between 2014 and 2020, and payment of one per cent stamp duty on all contracts awarded within the period.

The agency was also accused of not following due process in awarding N1.12bn contract tagged ‘Intervention Budget Distribution’ that was requested for in a letter dated March 12, 2014.

Olamilekan said that during the period under review, the agency declared N7bn as its Internally Generated Revenue, but that the committee discovered that the money spent “on good course” was more than the amount.

The senator, who expressed surprise about the source of the money spent, asked the NLTF for clarity.

“We discovered another monumental fraud from the National Lottery Trust Fund for money that ordinarily should have been used for good course, in accordance with its Act. The total money accruing to it in the period under review was about N7bn, but by the time we marry this money with the good course to be provided, we noticed that the amount expended is even more than the amount that was declared.

“The questions are: from where did you get the excess fund? Do you have any other source of income? The answer is no. And what that simply implies is under-declaration of revenue,” the panel chairman maintained.

The total procurement cost for the contract awarded without due process was put at N800m; consultancy service was N185m, public awareness and media N50m, project administration N50m, while N25m was spent on contingency.

It was gathered that the consultancy fee was supposed to be N80m.

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