David Lee, the Pointe-a-Pierre MP, has called on Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, to investigate what he claims to be rampant corruption at the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB).
He said the country witnessed another bacchanal with the NLCB and its directors when they initiated the ten per cent tax on July 30 without having the proper law in place.
He added, “The bigger issue for us as the Opposition and the taxpayers and citizens is who dropped the ball in having this tax being charged from July 30? The NLCB would have gone out earlier before the tax implementation of July 30 with an advertising PR about when the tax is being initiated.
“What is more of a fiasco than the incompetence of this Rowley led-administration and the Board of Directors. This implementation of the 10 per cent tax came about in the Budget of last year.”
In a media release on Friday, NLCB said players affected will be refunded their tax deductions. The NLCB blamed the mix-up on the technology used to automatically deduct the taxes coming on stream before the legislation had been proclaimed.
Lee claimed that the tax is being implemented illegally.
He added, “Because they did not have the proper proclamation to charge the citizenry the taxes on the winnings of whatever games they played whether it is Play Whe, Lotto, Pick 5 and the range of games that they have.
“As the Opposition, we feel that the end of year is approaching very fast and the Government is trying to implement certain things that they said in the budget without doing the proper checks and balances. The proclamation was supposed to have been initiated from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs.
“They would have had this discussion going on for a while. If you read the letter on August 2 by Michael Jogee where he was talking about giving back the taxes to the citizenry and in short he is saying that the technology that was put in place by the NLCB to create the taxes came on stream faster than the proclamation. Once again they are taking us for fools.
“Maybe, do an investigation in the NLCB and the management and incompetence of what is happening. We have seen the line Minister being embarrassed over the last 12 months especially from the NLCB.
“When you play the Play Whe you do not give your name when you win, you present your winning ticket and you disappear. We are in a quandary how are they going to be refunded this ten per cent tax. Is it going to be an avalanche of unscrupulous individuals who say that they have won and claiming the ten per cent tax. There are a lot of questions to be answered.”
Lee added that the Opposition was concerned over NLCB’s procurement practices and also called on Imbert to investigate an issue of a manpower audit as the procurement is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.