House of Representatives has placed the National Lottery Trust Fund on status enquiry for spending 100 percent of its internally generated revenue (IGR).
Consequently, the parliament will appoint an external auditor to audit all the accounts of the Fund and submit the report to the House for further action.
The House Committee on Finance took the decision at the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) Interactive Session with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on Monday.
The chairman of the committee, Hon James Faleke, also directed the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the Office of the Accountant General to also probe the Fund and submit their reports to the Committee.
This was sequel to the presentation of remittances to the federal government by the Executive Secretary of Lottery Trust Fund, Bello Maigari, who appeared before the Committee.
Bello told lawmakers that the Fund has so far in 2023 generated N2.49 billion but the entire sum was spent on various projects, saying the money was raised from statutory remittances from licensees and permit holders.
He also informed the Committee that N6.28 billion was generated in 2022, but the amount was also spent on various projects carried out by the Fund.
The executive secretary added that the Fund spent and incurred a deficit of N255 million in 2022 because it had a carryover of liabilities in 2021.
Reacting, Faleke said, “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 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. Status enquiry means we are going to bring in an external auditor to audit your accounts, your books, all your income and expenses from day one to date.
“We would send our report to the plenary and if you are found guilty, you will be made to refund all expenditure and if you are found guilty, and any other punishment thereof,” he said.
Faleke said the Fund was fully funded by the federal government hence it was bound by law to remit 100 percent of its IGR.
“As is expected of a fully funded government agency, so you generated over N3 billion in 2022. You were expected to remit that over N3 billion,” he said.
Asked how the N6.2 billion revenue in 2022 was spent, Bello said the agency intervened in many areas including education, sports development, social services, public welfare and disaster management as well as the running cost of the Fund.
Meanwhile, the committee turned back the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex which also appeared before the panel for not making available relevant documents.
This was after a brief presentation by corps marshall of the FRSC, Dauda Biu and the chief executive officer of the Trade Fair, Veronica Ndanusa, when lawmakers noticed those documents, especially remittances, were not part of their submissions.
Specifically directing Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Chairman Fake said: “How can the head of accounts come to the Committee of Finance and say they are not aware that they are to present revenue details. I can’t understand it. You are to come back here by Thursday 11am. I assume you have not submitted, take your documents.”