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NLA activities hurting pro-poor?

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Information available to this paper suggests that activities at the National Lottery Authority (NLA) under Director- General Martin Kollie appear to be detrimental to the well-being of the Pro-Poor Agenda of President George Manneh Weah.

The information further indicates that the NLA continues to allegedly grant licenses to gaming entities without the NLA Board’s resolution as provided for by law.But the NLA Director General Kollie has denied the claim in a follow up Monday, 14 January.

This paper was re informed that entities that are insolvent are being given sports betting license to operate in Liberia.One of such cases, the paper learnt is GoBet231, owned and operated by the Palm Springs Resort, a resort that is said to be in deep financial troubles.

Under the law, entities applying for gaming licenses must be financially viable and must pay all of the required fees into the government’s account.According to the information GoBet231 does not have the financial strength to pay for the license for sports betting and did not pay.

Rather, it is reported to have entered into an alleged illegal deal with the Management of the NLA to receive the license and to pay the government fees by installment which is to as ‘sell pay’ in the local Liberian parlance.

It was further learnt that GoBet231’s owners, Palm Springs Resort that operates a Casino in Congo Town is known for allegedly negotiating with winning patrons at the casino to pay their winnings in installments, some which go contrary to the rules and regulations governing the gaming industry in Liberia.

In the wake of this situation, others are recommending that the NLA immediately revokes the license issued to GoBet231 on grounds that the process leading to the issuance of the license was allegedly faulty.There are claims that GoBet231 does not have the financial strength to become a legitimate player in the Liberian market, evidenced by its plea to receive the license and pay the fees by installment.

There are also calls for Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor to institute an investigation into this alleged irregularity which is an affront to the success of President George Manneh Weah’s Pro-poor Agenda.

Officials of GoBet231 could not be reached immediately for comment, however when the NLA was contacted Monday, 14 January, the Director General Martin Kollie disclosed that it’s impossible for the Director to single handedly issue a permit or license without the approval of the board.

Director Kollie asked our reporter to do an in-depth investigation or request the permit that was issued to find the signature of the board on it.Director Kollie who says he was in rush for a Church service, narrates that “We need to graduate from the stage of politicizing everything when it’s not in your favor.”

He says our reporter should ask the other people how they got their licenses or he should go to the office of the vice president where he can find the board chairman and ask him about the permit.When President Weah took the Oath of Office on January 22, 2018, he promised, among many other things, to improve the lives of all Liberians, the disabled community inclusive.

Under the governance structure of Liberia, the arm of the government of Liberia responsible to generate revenue and as well provide support to the disabled community is the National Lottery Authority headquartered in Sinkor, Monrovia.

By Ben P. Wesee

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