Efforts by the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to clamp down and weed out the activities of illegal lotto operators across the countrydenying the country revenue, have led to the arrest of some seven operators in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.
This comes after the Authority, completed its license regime as part of measures to streamline the activities of lotto operators.
It is unclear, the extent to which the Authority’s revenue has increased since the taskforce begun its wok last year, when the new Director General, Samuel Awuku, the incumbent National Organizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), took over the reigns of the NLA.
The Ashanti Region is known for the activities of illegal lotto business. Many actors in the industry, who thought because of the heavy political background of MrAwuku in the region, the world bank of the NPP, will be a no go area for this fight, had been left in shock.
The Lotto Taskforce’s raid on Kumasi on Saturday, February12, 2022, was a surprise to many. The arrest of the seven operators, had been described by the team as very successful.
Speaking on the operation to the media at the Regional Police Headquarters, Goodfellow Dei Ofei, Public Relations Manager for the Authority, said “as we indicated we will have these unannounced swoops to clear the system of these illegal operators”.
“People thought that we will not walk the talk, but as you have clearly seen today, we are determined to get results for the Authority and Ghana”.
He continued “as I always say we have given a human face to this exercise and these operators have been given ample time to have their activities properly regularized, but some of these people thought we were joking about our resolve to clear the system of illegal lottery activities.
“Today’s operation was very successful. We apprehended seven operators at their closing points and some cash which are proceeds from their activities. The police have been of tremendous support to us. We expect to prosecute these suspects as soon as possible”.
He added that “we were surprised to see that some of these operators have procured fake License which they boldly display as having duly registered to engage in lottery. The team also realized that these operators, especially operators of BA Lotto, have business models that are alien to the NLA.
“They were paying high commissions and were always close to about 50% bonus to players. We have reason to believe that these operators are using the lottery as a disguise to launder money”.
The suspects who were handed over to the police were; Collins Yeboah, Owusu Gideon and Paul Adade, were operating for “NaaSei Venture”.
GyamrahAkenten, Richard Bright Adom and Antwi Bruce were operating for “BA Lottos” while Benjamin Owusu, operated for Sikatuo.
It will be recalled that in September last year, the NLA management upon assumption of office, its new Director General, engaged the Association of Private Lotto Operators on the modalities to renew their operational license for the year 2021/2022, which expired in June.
After the deliberations, both parties agreed on some modalities which culminated into the licensing procedure, and upon the completion of the license regime, the NLA, with the support of the security services set out to clamp down on the activities of persons operating Lotto illegally.
A series of such operations have occurred in some parts of the Greater Accra, Eastern and Central regions, since the 1st of November last year.
Last Saturday’s operation took place in Greater Kumasi that is Asokwa, Oforikrom, Ahodwo and its environs.
The exercise will be replicated across the country by the team, but no knows yet where they will be heading or will be spending more time in Kumasi.