- The House of Representatives Committee on Finance plans a thorough audit of the National Lottery Trust Fund’s financial records
- The agency, under scrutiny for using N2.5 billion in IGR without remitting funds, faces investigation by external auditors and government bodies
The House of Representatives Committee on Finance announced on Monday its intention to conduct a thorough audit of the National Lottery Trust Fund’s financial records. The agency, having utilized nearly N2.5 billion in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the year 2023, is under scrutiny for failing to remit any funds to the federal government.
Committee Chairman Hon James Faleke disclosed during the ongoing interactive session on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, that the committee would appoint an external auditor to examine the Fund’s accounts. The ensuing report will be presented to the House for further deliberation.
In addition to this, the Committee has directed the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the Office of the Accountant General to conduct parallel investigations into the Fund and submit their findings to the committee.
Bello Maigari, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, revealed during the session that the agency generated N2,492,996,588.13 in 2023. Astonishingly, the entire sum was expended on diverse projects. The funds were primarily sourced from statutory remittances collected from licensees and permit holders.
Maigari highlighted that a similar scenario unfolded in 2022 when the Fund generated N6.28 billion, which was also entirely allocated to various projects undertaken by the organization. He explained that a deficit of N255 million was incurred in 2022 due to liabilities carried over from 2021.
However, Committee Chairman Faleke expressed his concern, stating, “It’s like the government opened this agency for you and your family. That is what you are saying. That is the meaning.” He pointed out the peculiar situation where the agency spent the exact amount it generated, calling for a comprehensive status enquiry into the Nigerian Lottery Trust Fund. The impending external audit will scrutinize the agency’s financial records, income, and expenses from inception to date. If any wrongdoing is discovered, corrective measures, including reimbursement of expenditures, will be taken.