The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is targeting billionaire businessman and founder of Premier Lotto, Kessington Adebutu in an ongoing corruption investigation.
Premium Times reported that yesterday in Lagos, detectives from the anti-graft agency detained and interrogated the billionaire’s son, Segun Adebutu.
The EFCC is carrying out a complex corruption investigation which ranges from tax fraud to economic sabotage. The businessman, who has amassed billions over the years from the betting industry, is allegedly complicit in these crimes.
The intrigue: Interestingly, it was Premier Lotto’s main competitor – Western Lotto – that tipped off the anti-graft agency in December 2019 about the alleged fraud. The EFCC was told to investigate Premier Lotto because billionaires of naira worth of lost government revenue are allegedly traceable to the betting company.
Officials of the EFCC supposedly confirmed to have already traced the sum of N5 billion to the company since the investigation commenced. The company’s management has also been accused of “short-changing Nigerians”.
In the meantime, neither Mr Adebutu nor his company (ie., Premier Lotto) has issued a statement regarding this development.
An official at the Lottery Commission who commented on the development confirmed the ongoing investigation. The unnamed official also accused Western Lotto owner, politician Buruji Kashamu, of instigating the investigation in a bid to undermine his competitor just to gain dominance of a section of Nigeria’s betting industry.
Buruji Kashamu has since dispelled this speculation. According to him, he notified the EFCC of an industry-wide corruption that was engulfing betting in Nigeria. The politician, who is currently on FBI’s wanted list, stressed that he is not a disgruntled player in the Nigerian betting industry. He said:
“All the taxpayers’ billions they diverted should have been paid into the lottery commission trust fund to build infrastructure and alleviate poverty amongst the Nigerian masses. I urge Nigerians to continue to pressure the EFCC to investigate and charge all those responsible for sabotaging the country’s economy without any pity for the masses.”
The alleged industry-wide corruption allegation had taken other players in the field by surprise. To this end, officials of the association of betting companies in Nigeria are planning to meet in order to coordinate a better response to the EFCC.
You may want to read about how Kessington Adebutu made his billions, having risen from salesboy to betting king. Click here for that.