The National Lottery Trust Fund was placed under status inquiry by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Monday for using all of its internally generated revenue.
In order to allow the House to take additional legislative action, the committee has decided to designate an outside auditor to look into the accounts. A report is anticipated soon.
James Faleke, the All Progressives Congress member for Lagos State’s Ikeja Federal Constituency and the Committee’s chairman, also gave the Office of the Accountant General and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission orders to look into the fund and report back to the committee.
The resolutions came after Bello Maigari, the Fund’s executive secretary and chief executive officer, spoke to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies at the interactive session on the 2024–2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper on Monday.
Mr. Bello claims that the fund made N2.5 billion in 2023, but he also points out that all of that money was used to carry out a number of national initiatives.
He claimed that the funds came from license and permit holders’ statutory reimbursements.
According to Bello, the N6.8 billion the fund earned in 2022 was used in a manner similar to that of 2023 for project implementation.
Mr. Bello added that due of a carryover of liabilities from 2021, the Fund spent and experienced a N255 million deficit in 2022.
The National Lottery claimed that the N6.2 billion it generated in 2022 was used for vital sectoral initiatives such public welfare, sports development, education, and social services in an apparent attempt to curry favor with lawmakers.
But when he informed the lawmakers that the fund was supposed to cover staff salaries and allowances in addition to the emoluments, benefits, and allowances of its board members, he stunned the Committee.
Faleke retorted, “It seems like the government set up this agency just for you and your family. This is what you’re expressing. That’s what it means. You made around N2.5 billion, of which N2.5 billion was spent on the final kobo. From one source, you produced N2, 492, 996, 588.13, and you also spent the same amount.
“We are going to investigate the Nigerian Lottery Trust Fund’s current situation. A status inquiry indicates that your accounts, records, income, and expenses from the beginning to the present will be audited by an outside auditor. He said, “We would submit our report to the plenary, and if you are found guilty, you will be forced to reimburse all costs and any further penalties associated with it.
According to Faleke, the fund was required by law to submit 100% of its IGR since the Federal Government provided all of its funding.
He stated, “You were expected to remit that over N3 billion, as is expected of a fully funded government agency, and as you generated over N3 billion in 2022.”