The 2021 National Lotteries Board (NLB) audit report has revealed several instances of wasting and misuse of funds. For example, the report reveals that the NLB has spent a sum of approximately Rs. 400 million to pay the rent for the respective building over the past 7 years.
The report further reveals that even though approval has been sought to spend a sum of Rs. 40 million on the construction of a new building and to obtain consultancy services, such a building too hasn’t been constructed.
It has been alleged that the NLB had illegally acquired a building on a rent basis and had been paying Rs. 20 million from May 2020 to May 2022. However the report confirms that this building is an illegal construction that had been built sans proper approval. The cabinet of ministers too had not been informed about the true background of this building.
The Board had further spent a sum of 20.7 million for consultancy services between 2016 and 2021. The audit further reveals that goods and devices worth Rs. 6.3 million that had been purchased for promotion purposes have turned defunct as they were neglected while being stored. The report states that gold coins, necklaces and 53 other gold items worth Rs. 1.8 million were stored in lockers without being given away to winners. Another revelation is that 569 out of 30,000 Dollar Fortune lotteries had been misplaced and the report called for an investigation on this case and to obtain the losses incurred from relevant parties. The draw for the aforementioned lotteries which was scheduled in 2016 had not concluded even by April 30, 2022.
Finance Ministry responds
This newspaper inquired from NLB about the 2021 audit report. A spokesperson from the Board told this writer to make our inquiries from the Finance Ministry. Then this writer spoke to R.R Weerasekare, the Assistant Director of the Finance Ministry. He stated that when an audit report revealed any fact about the National Lotteries Board the responsibility for that should be taken by Director Board of the NLB. “The NLB also must take steps to correct any false information released regarding the lotteries board. If there is any mistake in information we give advice to rectify it. When information was needed for an audit we informed the National Lotteries Board to provide it. The National Lotteries Board is to be shifted to a building which will pay a lesser rent,” said Weerasekare.