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Monday, November 11

Lottery commission chief threatens to sanction erring operators

Lanre Gbajabiamila, Director General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, has asked all erring lottery operators to defray all debts owed to the Federal Government or face stiff sanctions.

Gbajabiamila who gave the warning at a meeting in Abuja said the sanction might include revocation of licences as well as arrest and prosecution.

He spoke during a meeting between the management of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and lottery operators, especially those who had failed to comply fully with the terms and conditions of their licences and operating permits.

At the meeting which had several sister regulatory agencies as observers, the director general stated in clear terms that “all operators owing the Federal Government within the lottery industry would be made to cough out all they owe,” adding that the NLRC could not be found wanting in the discharge of its mandate, especially in the aspect of revenue generation.

He pointed out the fact that the commission had been magnanimous enough to show understanding with the operators regarding their operational challenges, the commission in turn must not lose sight of its mandate nor the operators obligations to the government.

“Commission has been magnanimous enough to understand with operators over time but they need to understand that they have obligations to government. The commission is under pressure to prove itself against the backdrop of the feeling of underperformance by our supervising agencies. It will not be business as usual, henceforth erring operators might have their licences/ permits revoked,” he stated.

The director general said NLRC has carried its licensed operators along for so long as a show of understanding towards their plight including jurisdictional challenges, and would therefore not rest on its oars in ensuring that all monies owed to the government were collected on or before December 31, 2019.

He said that beginning from 2020, the commission would seek to strengthen its regulatory efforts through a number of measures including forensic audit of all operators financial transactions, spot checks, data transmission to Central Monitoring System, monthly vetting of operational record books, and other provisions of the terms and conditions of their licences and permits.

He urged operators to go back and with the mindset of making amends where necessary.

Tanko Ashang, Legal Adviser to the commission, advised the erring operators to ensure they comply with their respective obligations to the government regarding their remittances.

He said he was seconded to the commission to further advance the mandate of the Attorney General of the Federation, and would not hesitate to prosecute defaulters who fell short of the terms and conditions of their licences and or permits.

However, some of the operators who spoke at the meeting listed their operational challenges to include jurisdictional rivalry between the federal and state governments which, they said, was affecting their operation and double taxation while soliciting the support of the commission in overcoming those challenges and pledging compliance to fulfilling their obligations to the commission and the government.

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