General News of Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The management of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) has reported alleged fraudulent activities in the Kumasi branch of the Authority to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Greater Accra Police Command and the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for full scale investigations.
The Board Chairman of the NLA, Dr Scali Agozo warned that the NLA will not shield anyone involved in the alleged fraud case in Kumasi and perpetrators would be prosecuted.
He explained that on March 26, the NLA head office in Accra received a report from its regional office in Kumasi that altered tickets had been presented for liquidation at a branch of National Investments Bank, one of its partner banks.
It was later confirmed that the tickets were fogged and the suspect was arrested, leading to the mentioning of two accomplices, one of whom was the NLA’s Database Administrator.
“This administrator confessed he succeeded in altering serial numbers of lotto tickets in the payment platform systems so that they match any chosen non-winning ticket allowing it to pass through the systems for payment.”
He however noted that the amount quoted in some media was exaggerated, saying “it is not correct that the Authority had lost billions of Ghana Cedis especially since the annual turnover of the NLA is yet to hit the billion mark”.
Dr Agozo noted that the current management had always fought fraud within the Authority since it took over and some of the steps taken included the closure of the manual operation and request to undertake IT audit of SIMNET’s system.
“Management has successfully reduced the level and frequency of fraud occurrence in the business and the high win ratio we used to experience which was partly influenced by fraud has fallen from an average of 56 per cent of sales revenue to 47 per cent in the first quarter of 2013,” he said.
According to him, the NLA had increased its past average annual consolidated fund contribution from GH¢9.5 million to GH¢15.4 million reaching GH¢22 million in 2012.
Since the introduction of the automation of the lottery in 2006, NLA had generated 5,500 new jobs and it was expected that at the end of the process, over 10,000 retailers would be gainfully employed.
Dr Agozo, however, warned all those involved in fraudulent and illegal practices including those doing banker to banker to desist from such acts as the Authority had received an Executive Instrument to prosecute any breaches of the National Lotto Act 2006.