NLA Chases MTN Over ‘Go Rio’ Promo

Richard Acheapong – General Manager Marketing Services at MTN Ghana

The National Lottery Authority (NLA) on Tuesday opposed an application filed by Scancom Limited MTN Ghana in respect of its ‘MTN Go Rio’ promotion.

Scancom Ghana Limited, operators of MTN, had filed an application at the Fast Track Division of an Accra High Court challenging the capacity of NLA to restrain MTN Ghana from continuing with its ‘Go Rio’ promotion.

During the trial at the court, presided over by Justice L. L. Mensah, counsel for NLA, David Lamptey said NLA was opposed to the application seeking to challenge its authority as indicated in the National Lotto Act, 2006 (ACT 772).

According to Mr. Lamptey, no person under section 4(1) of the Act can operate any form of lottery other than the NLA, adding that ‘no judge has the authority to grant immunity to a party from the consequences of breaching an Act of Parliament.’

He told the court that ‘my lord this power is in your comfortable chair, the oath you swore was that you will at all times uphold, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Ghana.’

However, Counsel for the applicants, Scancom, Samuel Cudjoe maintained that NLA was clearly out to ‘blackmail us and extort.’

He said MTN ‘Go Rio’ was purely promotional intended to award customers.

The ‘MTN Go Rio’ promotion has been designed by the telecommunication giant to reward customers for four months from the date of launch with prizes, including Kia Rio saloon cars, an-all-expense paid trip to Brazil, 32-inch Samsung LED TVs, Samsung Galaxy tabs, phones and free airtime.

The NLA had moved an ex-parte application in an Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Francis Obiri to stop MTN from holding the promotion.

In the NLA’s reliefs, they are seeking a declaration that the promotion is not a consumer or marketing promotion but in fact and law a lottery as defined by the Courts of Ghana and prohibited by section 4(1) of ACT 772.

The NLA also wants a declaration that the promotion ‘has all the attributes and elements of a lottery under the laws of the Republic of Ghana, being the existence of a prize to be won through draw or chance after spending a little more on voice, data, and SMS than usual as a precondition for obtaining the opportunity to stand the chance to win a fantastic prize.’

The NLA further wants a permanent injunction restraining the defendant, its agents, assigns, servants, affiliates, associates and workmen either by themselves or in conjunction or association with any individuals or organization from arranging, promoting, sponsoring, organizing any draw.

The NLA is also seeking an order compelling MTN to pay to Court or an Escrow Account the revenue it had generated from the date of launch of the promo till the date of its cessation or termination.

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By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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