The lotto sellers

Angry lotto sellers yesterday besieged the offices of National Lottery Authority (NLA) following the shut down of the automated machines.

The machines have been shut down by Editec, a UK based company which was contracted to supply them through another company called Simnet Ghana Limited.

A letter chanced upon by CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE revealed that Editec UK Limited had threatened in June 2012 to shut down the computerized gaming system if its monthly services payments, which is outstanding for four months were not effected.

Simnet Ghana Limited, after some months, pursued the case legally and dragged the NLA to court over the non-payment of the monthly services of the automated system upon, which the court directed the Authority to pay 50 per cent of all outstanding invoiced sums.

In separate interviews with some of the Lotto Sellers, they said that automated machines went off on Wednesday, October 2012, a few hours after they had sold a few tickets on line to some of their clients.

Since the machines are loaded through pre-financing of the system by the lotto sellers, they said their capital had been looked up. ?And that is a threat to our livelihood,? one of them said.

The Chairman of the Ghana Lotto Receivers Association, Daniel Mensah said ?the livelihood of our members nationwide is at stake? and called on government to act now to forestall a total collapse of the NLA.

He noted that NLA was experiencing financial difficulties at a time when it had cut the commissions paid to lotto receivers from 25 per cent to 20 per cent after several protests early this year.

Togbe Atakorah, a member of the Ghana Lotto Receivers Union, said some of them had borrowed money from banks ?but now our monies have been locked up.?

He said the winnings of lotto stakers cannot be paid since the system cannot validate them.

To avert any confusion, Togbe Atakora advised all who have outstanding winnings to call on the NLA for payment.

There was a massive police presence at the NLA headoffice located on the high street and the lotto sellers believed they were there to probably intimidate them.

However, officials of the NLA refused to comment on the matter.

An official of the NLA, who pleaded anonymity, hinted that an official statement would be issued.

He said the NLA had reported the matter to Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and was awaiting directive from the latter.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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