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06.02.2009 Business & Finance

Private Lotto Operators petitions Government

By ISD (Elorm Ametepe)

A delegation of Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA), yesterday presented a petition to President John Evans Atta Mills at a closed-door meeting in his office on matters relating to the ban imposed on private lotto operators in the country's lottery system.

Mr Ato Konduah, consultant to GLOA, who led the delegation, said the focus of the petition is to make it possible for the present government to look at issues regarding private sector participation in lottery, and the viability of repealing sections of the National Lottery Act, particularly sections 41 and 35, which makes it impossible for them to operate.

The petition, he said, is also requesting the government to restored private lotto operators to their former position to enable them to contribute to the economic viability of their district assemblies, a role assigned to them under PNDCL 223, which has been repealed and replaced with Act 722.

Mr Konduah said an estimated 500,000 families were affected by the abolition of the private sector participation in lottery, and petition is to help the new government understand their role within the economy of Ghana and most especially, their capacity to create jobs at the district level.

'We are therefore urging the new government to consider not excluding able bodied Ghanaians entrepreneurs from any economic activity like lottery in the country.'

He recalled that in 2006, a bill was sent to Parliament, which proscribes activities of the private lotto operators in the country.  After several representations to parliament explaining the rational for the existence of private collaborators in the lottery industry, the law (Act 722), was passed making it technically impossible for the private sector to participate in lottery in Ghana.  

'But as citizens of this country, we felt we also have economic rights. There is no activity except defence and security that private sector participation can be proscribe, even in that sectors now, some companies are allowed' he contended.

In a response to a question on whether the association is not in a way tying the President's hands with the petition, since the case is at the law courts, and any step taken by the President will amount to interference in the judicial system, he said, the issues presented to the president is not intended to influence any decision that may arise out of the court process.

'We respect the fact that the judiciary is an independent body so is the executive. If the executive want to do something about this issue, it has to show cognisance to what is happening at the courts and in our minds, we are clear that there is no breach of what is happening at the courts.'

According to Mr Ato Konduah, the petition is a way to serve notice to the President of their intentions and what in their opinion can be done for the economic condition of this country to improve.

He pointed out that the courts will adjudicate on issues and matters of the law which we are contesting, and so far none of the issues raised at courts have been raised in this petition that. The court process is running and this which is information for his attention will also be done. At the appropriate time, the two processes will reconcile themselves.

'What we are doing in court is to seek clarification on some matters of the law as to whether there are powers within the national lotto law which should deny our people of their fundamental rights,' he said.