It is without dispute that corruption and nepotism seem to have laid a firm foundation in the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), which asides being the apex body for regulating the business and operation of the lottery in Nigeria also has the responsibility to promote transparency, propriety, and integrity of national lottery in Nigeria.
Ironically, when one would have thought that the appointment of an experienced hand in the person of Lanre Gbajabiamila would drastically reduce the corruption which has eaten deep into the Commission, the opposite seems to be the case as information reveals that the Commission is in a more pitiable condition in terms of corruption and embezzlement than it was before his appointment.
This online news medium gathered that under the leadership of Lanre Gbajabiamila who was appointed in April 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari, corruption has built castles in the commission where unscrupulous entities can comfortably hide to carry out fraudulent deals to the detriment of the nation and its people as it is alleged that the commission habitually flaunts and breaks every known law guiding its operation ranging from procurement to administration and more especially financial management.
Hard evidence available to SecretReporters shows that since the appointment of the looting specialist Lanre Gbajabiamila, the Commission has constantly allegedly failed to remit 25% of its total income as required by law and policies of the federal government. We learned that in a look-alike disregard for constituted authority, the commission in 2017 received over N512, 185, 75 as its income but remitted just N78, 535, 350 amounting to about 15.33% leaving a deficit of 9.67% in that fiscal year.
According to the documents in what is clearly a display of his mastery in the art of looting, audit reports reveal that the December 2017 records by the commission showed that only about N763, 380 (Seven Hundred and Sixty-Three Thousand Three Hundred and Eighty Naira) was spent on procurement whereas vouchers presented before the audit showed that over N250, 000, 000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) was spent from capital for procurement in the same month with more than N249, 236, 620 (Two Hundred and Forty Nine Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand , Six Hundred and Twenty Naira) spent, undocumented and purportedly unaccounted for.
In further disregard for the extant laws guiding procurement in the commission, contracts were allegedly awarded to choice companies and individuals for the procurement of vehicles and other equipment at bloated prices without following due process. Amongst the numerous illegal procurements by the commission as alleged are Two Toyota Camry 2.5L Petrol Engine (2017 model) overpriced at N30, 500, 000 (Thirty Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) each and awarded to Omoregie Motors Limited, Two Toyota Coaster Bus 2.7L Petrol Engine 30 Seaters (2017 Model) at a jaw-dropping N50, 000, 000 (Fifty Million Naira) each awarded to Lanre Shittu Motors Limited amongst others with each voucher backdated to reflect December, 2017 in order to cover his corrupt path.
More audit findings available to SecretReporters also reveal that the commission under Lanre specializes in bid-rigging of contracts as contractors are allegedly given privileged information about the budget of procurements to be made thus causing the contract price by choice bidding contractors to be the same with the in house estimate, a clear example being the in-house price for the procurement of printing materials which was initially budgeted at N9, 096, 000 (Nine Million Ninety-Six Thousand Naira) while Highskill Limited who bided for the contract submitted the exact price of N9, 096, 000 (Nine Million Ninety Six Thousand Naira) as the contractor’s price. This amongst other accrues to the tune of over N20, 000, 000 million and goes contrary to the procedures found in the Procurement Act of 2009.
In order to avoid detection of his fraudulent intentions of looting the commission dry, Lanre purportedly in a total neglect of the E-payment policy by the Federal government resorted to paying cash into the account of choice staff members as DTA, Local running etc to the tune of over N67, 540, 500 (Sixty Seven Million, Five Hundred and Forty Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) rather than paying these monies into the accounts of bonafide beneficiaries as required by the E-payment policy in compliance with the provisions of FR 632 and 633.
The deeply corrupt DG in also in contradiction of Treasury Circular no. TRY/A2B2/2009 OAGF/CAD/026/V of March 2009 which states that “all accounting officers or officers controlling expenditure are to ensure that all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200, 000 should be made only through award of contracts ”, made payment to choice staff members of over N5, 776, 800 for direct procurement.
Furthermore, documents showed that in the same fiscal year, N36, 014, 400 (Thirty-Six Million, Fourteen Thousand, Four Hundred Naira) was allegedly paid to Mr Ogbu Augustine (SA Senate Committee on Sport), Danladi Ochiyenu and Ukah Solomon for oversight function whereas the real beneficiaries were not stated nor was there any memo from the Senate committee informing or requesting to carry out any oversight functions. However, it was gathered that out of the said N36, 014, 400 (Thirty-Six Million, Fourteen Thousand, Four Hundred Naira), the sum of N17, 092, 800 was paid directly to Mr Ogbu Augustine who is not a staff of NLRC for DTA, Airline Ticket and Airport taxi without any proper or official explanation.
It would be recalled that Gbajabiamila, was the CEO of Lagos State Lotteries Board for almost a decade and recorded a great feat which was the major contributing factor for his recommendation for the higher position at the federal level.