National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) has exonerated itself from the alleged misappropriation of billions of Naira as was raised by the Senate Committee on Finance during recent investigation into the remittances by ministries and agencies of the Federal Government between 2014-2020
The Senate Committee chaired by Senator Adeola Olamilekan, alleged that the Agency, between 2014 and 2019, claimed to had generated N7 billion, but further investigation by the Committee revealed that the money spent on good course was more than the money declared by the agency as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Committee said it also discovered another “monumental” fraud on payment of 1 per cent stamp duty on all contract awards within same period, in addition to the allegation that the Agency violated due process to award contract worth N1.12 billion tagged “Intervention budget distribution” which was requested for in a letter dated 12 March , 2014.
Executive Secretary of NLTF, Dr. Bello Maigari, told journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday, that the allegations raised by the lawmakers was untrue, suspecting that the lawmakers were either misinformed or being misled by some individuals for some undisclosed reasons.
He also suspected that the discrepancies in figure may be from the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), which is the agency regulating and supervising NLTF.
Maigari said: “Our remittance status between 2014 and 2019 was N6.3 billion, not N7 billion as stated by the lawmakers. Besides, how can we spend more than what we generated as claimed by the lawmakers.
“Obviously, they couldn’t marry the figure we presented to them and the one that was presented by NLRC, hence they requested that we reconcile our account/figure with NLRC. It was shocking to us that NLRC doesn’t have records of our remittances. It’s an indication of gross incompetence.
“This is, obviously, mischief at the highest level. I cannot imagine how senior lawmakers will accuse us of fraud without checking our record books to verify the fact. They should have given us the benefit of fair hearing so we could defend our records and spendings. Howbeit, no fraud or financial embezzlement has been recorded in this agency.
“Howbeit, we have documented evidence as regards spendings on every of our project which was done in 2014 and beyond. In 2014, sporting equipments were procured and distributed to over 2,500 public schools across the country. However, we are working with NLRC to reconcile the records.”
He suggested for complete automation of the activities of the NLTF and NLRC to enhance efficiency in services and clarity in financial records.