THE PUBLIC RELATIONS Officer (PRO) for National Lottery Authority (NLA), Mr. Goodfellow Ofei, has refuted reports circulating in the local and social media platforms that his outfit has been given some goodies or incentive packages to the lotto writers who used NLA automation machines and neglected the private lotto writers who are working with the fourteen (14) licenced lotto operators in the country.
"It is not true that the NLA has been playing Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions, monthly salaries,bonuses and other renumerations as parts of the incentives to motivate the lotto writers who used the NLA automation machines," Ofei clarified these issues when he was speaking in an interview with the Angel TV on Thursday November 24, 2024 in Accra to refute various allegations leveled against the NLA by the private lotto operators in the country.
He stressed that beyond the 20 commission on the wins the NLA has been paying to their prospective lotto writers, the Authority has not paid any inceptive packages or bunues to anybody as claimed by the various private lotto operators.
Mincing no words, Mr Ofei stated that the NLA was not against the owners of the private lotto businesses to give goodies as part of the end of the year packages to their lotto writers they had employed to write lotto for them in order to motivate them for working for them to make their private lotto business a success.
"In fact the NLA has no capacity to prevent the owners of the private lotto businesses to give fridge benefit packages to their lotto writers, adding that we don't have mandate to determine to the private lotto operators on how to treat their writers in the friendly manner to work with them," he said.
According to him, the 20% commission payment on the wins, has been a mandatory lottery commission set up by the Board of the NLA, saying that there are wisdom for which the NLA chosen the 20% commission, saying that the commission the NLA paid to the lotto operators is the highest one across the world.
According to him, last week the Director- General of NLA, Mr. Samuel Kwabena Awuku led a delegation from Ghana to Malta to invite Maltese officials to participate in the incoming 60th anniversary celebration of the NLA.
He mentioned that as part of the discussion, the Maltese officials stated emphatically that the lottery commission the NLA is paying to the lotto operators in Ghana is of high level, which Maltese officials said would go along to destroy the lottery industry.
Articulating on the reasons why the NLA decided to pay 20 % commission on the lottery in Ghana, Mr Ofei noted that "the lottory model that the Authority is running in Ghana, should in case you work for a day you expected that the money you will get for the day, you would reserve the 60% to pay your wins.
He added that "the people who would come to stake the lotto, you are expecting that their pay out would be around 60%. Sometimes it goes over the board. "
He pointed out that "Two weeks ago the NLA has paid 394% wins and we have done work to the tune of GH¢1.1 million and that the NLA paid over GH¢4 million wins and that we are weaving around an average of 60 %. And that if you pay 60 % for the wins finished, if you pay a commission of 20% it makes up to 80 %, then it left with the 20%. An then the operational expenses with the workers and with the taxes that you would pay on your profit should be in the 20%.
"And that if the lottery operators come for the operational license from the NLA, and you go into the lottery operational market, and you pay the 20% commission on the wins, for example in Kumasi, we over heard that some private operators paid 40 % commission on the wins, and some operators even promised of paying 45¢ commission on the wins, what it takes is that they would be able to either not paying their wins or taxes towards GRA. Their commitment towards GRA is questionable," he noted.
Mr. Ofei cited instances when some winners of the lotto from the private lotto operators came to the offices of NLA to complain bitterly of the failure of some operators to pay their wins of their stakes.
"We had complained that from the winners that we had won lotto from the licensed private operators for a year ago, but the operators were not be able to pay the money for them, and they ended of paying the money in small basis which have made them to destroy the money won," he disclosed.
He said it is not that his outfit wants to stop the private lotto operators to give either 40 or 45% commission on the wins to prospective winners because the main writers of the NLA who used the automation machines were paying 20 % commission on wins to the lucky winners.
He explained that the NLA position was that the lotteries are heavily regulated gaming market industry, arguing that it is not just a normal selling market that "you had opened your shop and you determine what was right for to do to catch on the customers."
He stressed that in the other countries, private persons are not allowed by their governments to run the lotteries business, adding that it is the only means and ways that the central government to get money to run the economy without taxing.
He pointed out that when the NLA meant other lottery regulatory institutions in the world, nobody was declaring the dowrad sales their are getting from the lottery business, saying that the industry is the space that all the countries in the world regulate seriously.
He indicated that NLA through the Ghana Judicial Service has set up the Lotto Court to be prosecuting lotto fraudters and that they can prosecute many private lotto operators because what some of them are doing were completely tatanmount to money laundering which were against the law of this country.
In this sense, Mr Ofei stressed the need for the private lotto operators to comply with the 20% commission on the wins percribed by the NLA and that whoever goes contrary to this law would be arrested and prosecuted at the Lotto Court.
He pointed that they were reported cases from the owners of the private lotto operators that some of their colleagues paying the higher commission on wins instead of the mandatory 20% commission on the wins to their prospective winners.
He vowed that whoever caught of engaging in illegalities in the lottery business would be dealt with, stressing that the NLA has intensified its regulatory law to sanitize to-day-day operational activities of the lotto operators in the country.
He pointed out that it is not true that the lotto operators has consulted the NLA and the Authority agreed with the operators to reduce the 20 commission on the wins.
"Nobody can force the NLA to make any reduction because we have started the implementation of the 20% commission rate on the wins of the lottery staking for long time.
It is either the private lotto operators want to work with the regulatory systems that we have putting in place in NLA or the operators would said that they cannot continue to carry the lottery business with NLA any more. So we would not allow anyone to engage in the illegalities in the industry," Mr. Ofei stressed.
He cited an instance in which the NLA officials have gone to carry out operations in Kwahu enclaves for which they caught private lotto operator of engaging in the lotto illegalities.
He pointed out that when they had entered into the place they are closing the staking of the lotto booklets, they realized that they had registered with the NLA but they managed to operate private lottery business to make huge monies at the expenses of the state.
He disclosed that the illegal private lotto operators in Kwahu made GH¢ 3.4 million profit in a three days on the lotto booklets the people had staked from them without even paying any tax to the government.
"So are we saying that the officials of NLA should leave the business to some people to do without regulating their activities,' the visibly worried Ofei rethorically asked adding that he finds it extremely difficult to understand the argument to the effect that the NLA should not flush out bad or criminal private lotto operators from the business.