The taskforce of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) has apprehended seven illegal lotto kingpins in the Ashanti Region.
This comes after the Authority completed its licence regime, as part of measures to streamline the activities of lotto operators.
The suspects, Collins Yeboah, Owusu Gideon, Paul Adade (operating for Naa Sei Venture), Gyamrah Akenten, Richard Bright Adom, Antwi Bruce (operating for BA Lottos), and Benjamin Owusu (operating for Sikatuo), will be prosecuted as soon as possible, according to the Authority.
In an interview with the media at the Regional Police Headquarters after the exercise, Mr Goodfellow Dei Ofei, Public Relations Manager for the Authority, said his outfit would continue to organize 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 said.
“We have given a human face to this exercise, and these operators had 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,” he added.
Touching on their operations, he said the suspects operated with fake licences, adding that their modus operandi was questionable.
“We were surprised to see that some of these operators had procured fake licence, which they boldly displayed as having duly registered to engage in lottery. The team also realized that these operators, especially operators of BA Lotto, have business models that is 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 lottery as a disguise to launder money,” he said.
In September, last year, management of the NLA engaged the Association of Private Lotto Operators on the modalities to renewing their operational licence for the year 2021/2022, which expired in June, last year.
After the deliberations, both parties agreed on some modalities which culminated into the licensing procedure.
After the completion of the licence regime, the NLA, with the support of the security services, set out to clamp down on the activities of persons operating lotto illegally in the country.
A series of such operations took place in some parts of the Greater Accra, Eastern and Central regions from November last year. Last Saturday’s operation took place in the Greater Kumasi area involving Asokwa, Oforikrom, Ahodwo and their environs.