, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – The government and the operators of the SMS lottery 6969 are embroiled in a fresh tussle after the firm vowed to defy a ban imposed late on Thursday.
Interactive Gaming Limited released a statement late on Thursday signed by a director Adil Bashir, saying the government had no authority to cancel its licence since there was a High Court order that allowed the lottery to go on.
Earlier on, the Betting Control and Licencing Board announced it had revoked the licence for SMS lottery 6969.
It advised members of the public to cease further participation in the Shinda Smart 6969 lottery.
In a public notice signed by Chairman Lucas Maitha, the board said it had revoked the licence issued to Interactive Gaming and Lotteries Limited, the operators of the lottery, with immediate effect.
"In a public notice today (Thursday) signed by the chairman, Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), Lucas M. Maitha, the government also revoked with immediate effect the licence issued to Interactive Gaming and Lotteries Limited the operators of "Shinda Smart 6969"," the statement from the Vice President\’s office read in part.
According to the notice, the government said its action was necessitated by failure of the company to comply with the High Court Order issued on December 29 for the company to deposit Sh50 million shillings in its account, but the firm said it duly complied.
The notice also banned the company from any further advertising and promoting the lottery through print and electronic media and cautions the public against participating in it.
"The notice also bans the company from any further advertising and promotion of the lottery through print and electronic media and cautions the public against participating in it," it said.
On Wednesday, police officers from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) visited Westgate shopping Mall in Westlands where they inspected vehicles that are displayed for promotion of the lottery.
The officers who were in the company of others from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters also visited the offices of another firm associated with the lottery on Ngong Road but no one was found there.
The cancellation of the lottery firm\’s licence came hours after Sports Assistant Minister Kabando wa Kabando petitioned Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to intervene in the ongoing SMS lotteries.
"Cognisant of the fact that lotteries play an important role in raising funds for social service, public welfare, relief of distress and/or other patriotic purposes, I am, without prejudice, petitioning you, Sir, to take action to save Kenyans from possible rip-off in the on-going SMSs lotteries. The past few months have witnessed a flood of these schemes," Kabando\’s petition said.
Mr Kabando said there was no evidence that money collected from the lotteries were channelled to charity work as required by the Section 40 of the Betting Control and Licensing Act.
"There is little show in terms of charitable work resulting from the SMSs lottery proceeds. The companies have not disclosed how much proceeds they have made from the SMSs, supposedly on the grounds of confidentiality," he said and termed it as "obnoxious."
The firm\’s directors are still being sought by police.