The House of Representatives committee on finance on Monday agreed to appoint an external auditor to audit the accounts of the National Lottery Trust Fund for spending 100 percent of its internally generated revenue (IGR).
James Faleke, the chairman of the committee also directed the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to also probe the Fund and submit their reports to the committee.
Faleke gave the order when Bello Maigari, the executive secretary/CEO of the Fund, appeared before the committee in the ongoing 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper interactive session with ministries, departments and agencies.
The committee chairman informed that the audit report would be made available to the House for further action.
Earlier in his presenting on remittances to the Federal Government, Bello told the committee that the Fund has so far in 2023 generated N2.49 billion of which the entire sum had been expended on various projects.
Bello said the money was raised from statutory remittances from licensees and permit holders, saying 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.
On what the N6.2 billion revenue in 2022 was spent on, Bello said they intervened in many areas, including education, sports development, social services, public welfare and disaster management.
He added that the money was also spent on the running cost of the Fund and confounded the lawmakers when he said that the Fund was also expected to pay emoluments, allowances and benefits of members of its board, as well as salaries and allowances of staff.
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 the N2.5 billion to the kobo. You generated N2, 49 billion 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,” he said.