Group debunks allegation of misappropriation against Lottery Trust Fund

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The Center for Peace, Transparency and Accountability has refuted the allegation of misappropriation of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF).

The Executive Director of the center, Comrade Patrick Ogheneyero, disclosed to newsmen on Thursday, in Abuja that NLTF acted in accordance with the law establishing it.

Recall that the House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Monday, placed the National Lottery Trust Fund, on status enquiry for spending the entirety of its Internally Generated Revenue.

According to him, the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, has made allegations against the NLTF regarding some irregularities in financial spending in the cause of executing development projects.

“Part of the allegations is that the agency failed to justify the spending of six billion IGR in 2022 and spending the money without budgetary approval.

“The panel also alleged that NLTF also spent over N2.0 billion in 2023 without approval,’’ he said.

Ogheneyero said the allegations are baseless since there was no single evidence to prove the act of misappropriation committed by the NLTF while discharging its enshrined mandate.

“In fact, all its actions are fully guided and backed by laws and in line with the provisions of the Act that established the agency as overseer and revenue generation body around the gaming industry in Nigeria.

“Thus, it behooves on us to shed light on this matter as it pertains to transparency, accountability and ethical conduct of public officials.

“To set the record straight, we refer to the Act that established the NLTF as an independent body, which empowers the Trust Fund to use its IGR, after 40 per cent deduction from source in line with finance act 2020.

“Section 40 of the National Lottery Trust Fund Act gives its management the power to use the fund as an intervention fund in specific areas of critical human interests aimed at improving the citizens’ lives and welfare.

“This is through provision of infrastructural facilities across various developmental sectors,’’ he said.

Ogheneyero said the Trust fund projects approved by the President on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees to be in the interest of the Nigerian community.

He said such projects shall include but not limited to projects for the advancement, upliftment and promotion of sports development, education, social services, public welfare and relief, and management of natural disasters in Nigeria.

“Owing to the above clause, it is obvious that the House of Representatives Committee on Finance have betrayed the trust vested on them by the House, regarding this task.

“They failed to do their homework adequately by not studying the provisions of the Act that established NLTF before they embark on such assignment without proper knowledge of the Fund,’’ he said.

Reports has it that the committee would appoint an external auditor to investigate the NLTF accounts with a report expected thereafter to enable the House to take further legislative action.

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