The House of Representatives Committee on Finance is conducting a status enquiry into the National Lottery Trust Fund, following allegations of utilizing its entire internally generated revenue (IGR) worth N2.5 billion in 2023.
According to the lawmakers, the revenue generated by the Trust Fund is believed to have been misappropriated by the head of the fund.
James Faleke, the Committee Chairman, issued the directive during the interactive session on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The directive came as Bello Maigari, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Fund, appeared before the committee.
Faleke also ordered that the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the Office of the Accountant General conduct probes into the Fund, with the requirement to submit their respective reports to the Committee.
Mr Maigari while presenting his submission on remittances to the federal government, said the fund has so far in 2023 generated N2, 492, 996, 588.13, of which the entire sum has been expended on various projects.
According to him, the money was generated through statutory remittances collected from licensees and permit holders.
Responding to Maigari’s submission, Faleke said that it’s unlikely that all the revenue generated by the Fund in a year be expended on projects.
He maintained that the finance was fully funded by the federal government hence it was bound by law to remit 100% of its IGR.
- “It’s like the government opened this agency for you and your family. That is what you are saying. That is the meaning. You generated almost N2.5 billion and you spent the N2.5 billion to the kobo. You generated N2, 492, 996, 588.13 from one source and then expended the exact same amount. And you put performance, 100 percent.
- “We are going to carry out a status enquiry on the Nigerian Lottery Trust Fund. Status enquiry means we are going to bring in an external auditor to audit your accounts, your books, all your income and expenses from day one to date.
- “We would send our report to the plenary and if you are found guilty, you will be made to refund all expenditure and if you are found guilty, and any other punishment thereof”, Faleke said.
What you should know
The National Lottery Trust Fund is an agency of the Federal Government established under the National Lottery Act 2005 to take custody of a certain percentage of the proceeds of all national lottery operations in Nigeria as stated in section 24(3) of the Act and utilize same in the execution of some good cause projects across the country.
- Section 40(a) of the Act lists the good cause projects covered by the mandate to include “Projects for the advancement, upliftment and promotion of sports development, education, social services, public welfare and relief and management of natural disasters in Nigeria”.
- Section 40(b) of the Act empowers the Trust Fund to also ”apply the proceeds of the fund from time to time to the cost of administration of the agency”.