The federal government has finally unsealed Africa’s leading food and beverage conglomerate, Nestlé Nigeria Plc, which it recently shut for alleged breach of National Lottery Act, 2005 and National Lottery Regulations, 2007.
The apex government noted that it resolved to unseal the conglomerate after its management agreed to sign an undertaking to pay up N65.16 million regulation fees on N233.993 million promotional lotteries it carried out between 2012 and 2014.
This was contained in a statement the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila issued at the weekend, disclosing that decision of the federal government to unseal the conglomerate.
The statement justified the decision of the federal government to shut the French multinational, citing hours of failed negotiations with its management led by the Head of its Human Resource, Mr. Adesola Akinyosoye.
Consequently, the statement said the enforcement team of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission led by the Director of Monitoring and Enforcement, Sajo Mohammed sealed the administrative office of Nestle PLC located at 22-24 Industrial Avenue, Ilupeju area Lagos.
The statement claimed that the conglomerate “had in 2009 carried out a promo lottery captioned Nestle Milo Scratch and Win”, valued at N10.92 million; another promo in 2012 captioned Buy Save and Win More Promo (Nestle New Year Shopper’s Combo) valued at N15 million, yet another one in 2012, captioned “Super Market Back 2 School, valued at N20 million and its 2014 promo, captioned “Year-End Shoppers Bag Promo, valued at N188 million.”
It claimed that all the promotional lotteries were carried out by Nestle PLC without authorisation of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, as required by law; ignoring all attempts by the NLRC for those lotteries to be properly regularised.
It added that total value of the promotional lotteries “was N233, 992, 500 with total regulation fees of N65, 155, 365.00. When the Enforcement team of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission arrived the premises of Nestle PLC at 22-24 Industrial Avenue Ilupeju, Lagos, it was learnt that the Managing Director was not available.
“His absence paved way for Akinyosoye to negotiate on his behalf. But the administrative block was sealed when it appeared that Nestle PLC was unwilling to give an undertaken on when to pay the fees. But it was unsealed as soon as the undertaken was signed and given on behalf of Nestle PLC by Akinyosoye.”
Before the enforcement, the director-general had repeatedly stressed the resolve of the lottery commission to step up its enforcement exercise against defaulting lottery operators, as well as companies involved in non-regularized promotional lotteries.
Gbajabiamila had warned that the commission “will not spare any defaulting operator, including those involved in non-regularized promotional lottery activities.
“The commission as an agency of the Federal Government must play its role in nation building by taking every lawful step to achieve its mandate, especially in the area of revenue generation. We at the commission will not fold our arms and watch Nigerians being shortchanged in any aspect of lottery activities.”