The House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Monday said it will audit the books of the National Lottery Trust Fund for spending almost N2.5 billion Internally Generated Revenue of the agency for 2023 without remitting anything to the coffers of the federal government.
The committee, which placed the agency on status enquiry for spending 100 per cent of its internally generated revenue (IGR), said it will appoint an external auditor to audit the accounts of the Fund and the report would be made available to the House for further action.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon James Faleke, who said this during the ongoing 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper interactive session with MDAs, 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 as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, Bello Maigari, appeared before the committee in the ongoing 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper interactive session with Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Presenting his submission on remittances to the federal government, Bello told the committee the fund has so far in 2023 generated N2, 492, 996, 588.13 of which the entire sum has been expended on various projects.
Bello said the money was raised from statutory remittances from licensees and permit holders.
He also told the committee that N6.28 billion was generated in 2022, but the amount was also spent on various projects carried out by the Fund.
He added that the Fund spent and incurred a deficit of N255 million in 2022 because they had a carryover of liabilities in 2021.
But responding to his presentation, 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 last kobo. You generated N2, 492, 996, 588.13 from one source and then expended the exact same amount. And you put performance, 100 per cent.
“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.