Lotto board denies blame for funding bungle

The National Lotteries Board (NLB) has denied responsibility for the alleged delay in appointing distribution agencies.

On Wednesday, the board also gave the assurance that all outstanding applications for funding will be considered.

The NLB was responding to media reports alleging that charity organisations depending on funding from the lottery were in difficulty as money due to them had not been forthcoming.

The reports claimed hundreds of such organisations faced closure because the NLB “has delayed appointing its distribution agencies”.

In a statement on Wednesday, the NLB said that in terms of the Lotteries Act, the board is not involved in adjudicating applications for funding, allocating grants or appointing the distributing agencies.

Instead, it is responsible for regulating the national lottery and all other lotteries in the country, and is the trustee of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

The distributing agencies are made up of groups of individuals appointed by the minister of trade and industry.

Their functions include adjudicating applications and allocating funds to successful applicants.

“This cannot be done by anyone else but the distributing agency,” the NLB said.

The term of office of the distributing agencies came to an end at the end of March 2006, and the Department Trade and Industry is in the process of finalising the new appointments.

The central applications office continued to process applications in preparation for the new distributing agencies.

“After the confirmation of appointment of the new distributing agencies by the Department of Trade and Industry and the required induction programme, all outstanding applications will be presented for consideration,” the board said.

Since the inception of the national lottery in 2000, the distributing agencies had allocated over R4,7-billion to more than 9 000 beneficiary organisations.

In the period April 1 2005 to March 31 2006 a total of R1,3-billion was allocated to 2 039 beneficiaries, it said.—Sapa

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