SMS lottery firm ordered to deposit Sh50m in court

December 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – The High Court has ordered the promoters of a short messaging services (SMS) lottery currently running on local TV stations to deposit Sh50 million in court within two days to enable them continue with the raffle.

Justice Mohammed Warsame directed Interactive Gamming and Lotteries limited to furnish the Deputy Registrar of the High Court with the deposit slip for the promotion which runs under the SMS code 6969 to continue uninterrupted.

Interactive Gamming moved to court after regulator, Betting Control and Licencing Board (BCLB) threatened to terminate it following allegations that the promoters have flouted terms and conditions of their license to conduct the lottery.

Through lawyer Kariuki Muigua, the company alleged that thousands of Kenyans had participated in the lottery and were eagerly waiting for the final draw.

“Any termination of the lottery might cause public resentment or even civil unrest and disobedience,” Mr Muigua said.

Lawyer Charles Mwanzia for BCLB, alleged that when the company was granted the licence, the prizes to be won were Sh12 million in cash, a brand new Toyota Hills, 8 Ford Rangers and 38 Toyotas.

But thereafter, the company allegedly changed the prizes to include Sh100 million in cash, a Nissan Navara, 9 Nissan NP 200, 30 Toyota Vitz and 9 Toyota lsts. Later, the prizes were changed to a Jeep, 8 Nissan NP 200, 45 Toyota Vitz and 8 Toyota lsts.

The lawyer added that in the letter to company, the regulator wanted to be furnished with names of its directors and the returns of the lottery since at inception, the company alleged that it was raising funds in aid of Mama Fatuma Goodwill Children’s Home.

According the BCLB rules, every promoter is required by law to devote at least 25 per cent of its gross proceeds to charities.

The board further says that the promoters were guilty of a criminal offence after transferring the raffle to Mzalendo Bora 6969 from 6868 and incorporating a new entrant known as Flint East Africa ltd.

The company says that it made the changes due to under-performance of the 6868.
In the first lottery, participants were charged Sh50 for every SMS but are now charged Sh69 per SMS.

Justice Warsame has directed the promoters to comply with the rules of the lottery as explained in a letter sent to the
company by the board on December 20, 2010.
The case is due in court on January 24.


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