*Lotto receivers call for probe into purchase deals

Mr. Kojo Andah, Director-General of the NLA

While the Republic of Ghana struggles to raise money to build much-needed infrastructure and execute programmes to bring the basics of living conditions and services to the people, top management officials in state institutions continue to enjoy salaries that are like mountains compared to the molehills of the salaries of those who actually generate those monies.

A concrete example is the case of the titanic disparity between Director-General and directors of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) on one hand and, on the other hand, the regional managers of the authority and lotto receivers who sweat to generate the money for the authority.

Speaking to Today in an exclusive interview, some lotto receivers who are members of the Lotto Marketing Companies (LMC) and the National Lotto Receivers Union (NLRU) alleged that while they take home humiliating salaries, the Director-General of the NLA, Mr. Kojo Andah,  takes home every month a salary of a whopping GH¢16,000.00 (¢160 million.)

Apart from that he also draws a monthly allowance of GH¢4,600.00 (¢46 million) amounting to a total of GH¢20,600 a month.

The lotto receivers also alleged that other directors of the Authority also take home similar whopping totals of salaries alongside other allowances.

They cited the Director of Operations, Mr. Kwame George Addo Yobo; Director in Charge of Finance and Administration, Mr. Dzikunu; Director of Sales, Mr. George Gyamfi-Osew; and Board Chairman Mr. Scali Agodzo of the NLA each of who takes a total of around GH¢15,600.00 (¢156 million) a month.

When Today however reached the directors involved, they declined to comment on the matter and instead directed our reporter to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NLA, Mr. Reagan Twum-Barima.

Mr. Twum-Barima however asserted: “These allegations are baseless and false… [and] the Authority will… come up with proof to discount the claims.”

But that is not all. The lotto receivers spoke of an allowance system they described as “unacceptable.”

According to them, the NLA also operates a system where the Director-General and each of his four directors take home GH¢150.00 each day as draw allowance. For just twenty working days each is taking home an additional income of GH¢3,000.00

That means each month the Director-General alone takes home about GH¢23,600.00 and each of the four directors takes home GH¢18,600.00. Altogether, the five of them, amongst themselves, take home salary cum allowances of GH¢98,000.00.

But commenting on the allegations, the Director-General, Mr. Andah, said: “All the claims are false,” and the figments of the imagination of those making them.

Meanwhile, the lotto receivers alleged that Regional Managers of the NLA are paid paltry monthly salaries of GH¢2,000.00 (¢20 million.) Obviously angry, they stated categorically that there is no justification whatsoever for the huge disparity between the salaries of the top officials of the Authority on one hand and that of the regional managers on the other. The disparity is “unreasonable,” they asserted.

They noted that the “chop-chop” of the top directors of the Authority can be likened to the “animal farm situation” where “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

It is a case of “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop,” they affirmed adding, “We should [be] treated like the hen that lays the golden eggs, but instead, we work for others to enjoy.”

“It is pathetic that, we those who do the work and end-up making so much for the Authority are paid slave wages,” they lamented and posted notice thus: “We believe this… will serve as a wake-up call to them… We cannot continue to allow ourselves to be treated as if we are slaves.”

Without mincing words, the LMC and NLRU once again accused the Atta Mills administration of ignoring this rape of the state and other massive fraudulent activities that go on at the NLA.

The two lotto receiver unions described as “worrying the deafening silence of… central government over what they term [the] slaves wages… paid them, while their top directors are swimming in a pool of money even though they [the receivers] are the ones that suffer to make so much for the authority.”

Speaking to Today, they hinted that they would in due course take their bosses by surprise by embarking on demonstration to press home their concern.

The two lotto receivers unions voiced their frustration with President Mills for consistently failing to set up a commission of enquiry to investigate the fraudulent activities of the directors of the Authority after they have repeatedly reported this issue to it.

Those activities, if not curbed immediately will, according to them, eventually lead to collapse of the NLA, a strategic national asset, which generates a lot of cash into the Consolidated Fund and provides employment to thousands across the country.

Visibly worried over this trend of affairs at the Authority,  the two lotto receivers unions  called on the president to  institute  contingency  measures to address  the seemingly impasse between them and the NLA over what they regard as the illegal reduction of their commission from 25 per cent to  20 per cent.

To the lotto receivers unions, it is morally wrong to reduce earnings of employees to finance capital expenditure notwithstanding what the law says.

“We are not prepared to cede 5 per cent of our earnings to the Authority,” the lotto receivers re-affirmed, “We will fight until that decision is abandoned.”

The lotto receivers, whose injunction suit against the intended 5 per cent commission deduction an Accra High Court recently dismissed, are   also calling for a probe into the purported purchase of 10,000 point of sale machines by the Authority.

They described the mode of the purchase as bizarre in the sense that, before one purchases such a massive number of equipment, there should have been a test run to guarantee their efficacy.

The Authority didn’t do so; they only decided to purchase the machines in bulk and so if they are found to be inefficient as has already been detected, wouldn’t they have caused financial loss to the state,” demanded angry the members of  LMC and NLRU respectively.

They told Today, in the circumstance in which the Authority finds itself, the prudent measure that should have been taken should have been the reduction of the huge salaries of management but not to further impoverish the Union members who have gone in for loans from the banks to pre-finance their lotto businesses.

The two unions described as misleading the assertion by the NLA management that the purchase of the 10,000 new machines is going to increase earnings of lotto receivers.

They pointed out that the old machines were doing precisely what the new machines are doing; hence there was no need to rush into buying new machines in the first place.

They contended that the old machines could work 12 for hours before the batteries run down, but the batteries of the new machines become weak only after 8 hours of usage.

Information available to Today indicate that after the High Court had dismissed the receivers’ injunction suit the Public Relations Officer of the NLA, Mr. Reagan Twum-Barima, is purported to have stated that the dismissal is victory for Ghanaians, since the Authority makes money for the state.

“That is an unfortunate statement, because over the years, the Union has supported the Authority to generate substantial revenue to support the economic endeavors of successive governments,” the lotto receivers responded.