House of Reps Initiates Probe into Alleged Misappropriation of N2.5 Billion National Lottery Trust Fund

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The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has launched a status enquiry into the National Lottery Trust Fund following allegations of the complete utilization of its internally generated revenue (IGR) amounting to N2.5 billion in 2023. Lawmakers suspect misappropriation of the revenue by the head of the fund.

James Faleke, Chairman of the Committee, issued the directive during an interactive session on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. The directive was given as Bello Maigari, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Fund, appeared before the committee.

Faleke further ordered the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the Office of the Accountant General to conduct investigations into the Fund, with the requirement to submit their respective reports to the Committee.

While presenting his submission on remittances to the federal government, Mr. Maigari stated that the fund had generated N2,492,996,588.13 in 2023, the entirety of which had been expended on various projects. He explained that the funds were generated through statutory remittances collected from licensees and permit holders.

In response to Maigari’s submission, Faleke expressed skepticism that the entire revenue generated by the Fund in a year could be expended on projects. He emphasized that, being fully funded by the federal government, the Fund was obligated by law to remit 100% of its IGR.

Faleke stated, “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.”

He clarified that a status enquiry involves bringing in an external auditor to audit the Fund’s accounts, books, and all income and expenses from inception to date. The committee will present its report to the plenary, and if wrongdoing is found, there may be a requirement for the refund of expenditures and other applicable punishments.

The National Lottery Trust Fund, established under the National Lottery Act 2005, is mandated to take custody of a percentage of the proceeds of all national lottery operations in Nigeria and utilize it for good cause projects. These projects include sports development, education, social services, public welfare, relief, and the management of natural disasters.

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