Segun Adebutu, a Lagos businessman and son of Kessington Adebutu, has said he was never detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in relation with an ongoing investigation into the nation’s betting industry.
Premier Lotto and some of its competitors have been subjects of an anti-investigation by the anti-graft EFCC. Operatives had launched an inquiry into a petition accusing the companies of tax fraud and economic sabotage.
PREMIUM TIMES first reported details of the investigationon January 28 after this newspaper learnt that the younger Adebutu was at the Lagos offices of the EFCC in response to a summon.
Mr Adebutu told PREMIUM TIMES in a letter that he was only interrogated but not detained as this medium reported.
He said he had only gone to the EFCC to represent the managing director of Premier Lotto, who was unavailable at the time to answer EFCC summons.
He also said the ongoing EFCC investigation was not about tax fraud and economic sabotage.
“I was never invited to EFCC office by the EFCC operatives but voluntarily visited the office of the EFCC following a letter written to the managing director of Premier Lotto, a company in which the Adebutu family has business interest,” Mr Adebutu said in his letter. “The managing Director was not available at the period to honour the invitation.
“Following my voluntary appearance at the EFCC office nonetheless, I was interviewed by the EFCC officials and was allowed to return home after the interview, contrary to your report.
“I was therefore never detained as alleged in the said publication. The sources referred to in said publication obviously did not tell Premium Times the truth concerning my visit to the EFCC office.
“The purpose of writing this letter to you is to put the facts correctly to you with the hope that you will be kind enough to correct the misleading story touching on my so-called detention at the EFCC office.
“Further and for the record, Premier Lotto is a legitimate company that has been a leading player in the pools betting industry under the guide and regulatory control of various legislations, guidelines and the lottery commission, and providing employment for a lot of people and complying with its obligations as a good corporate citizen.
“To the best of my knowledge, no member of Adebutu’s family, not in the least myself, was detained by the EFCC on the issue of alleged tax fraud or economic sabotage as reported in your publication of January, 28th 2020 and the various enquiries from my friends and business associates necessitate the need to put the records straight.”
Multiple EFCC sources had told this medium that the leadership of Premier Lotto and those of some other betting entities were summoned by the tax fraud department of the EFCC.
The investigation commenced based on a petition by a former senator, Buruji Kashamu.
Mr Kashamu, who is also into the lotto business, accused players in the betting industry of shortchanging the Nigerian government.
The ex-senator, who is wanted for unrelated drug-related offences in the U.S., confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that he petitioned the EFCC.
“All the taxpayers’ billions they (industry players) diverted should have been paid into the lottery commission trust fund to build infrastructure and alleviate poverty amongst the Nigerian masses,” he said.
The factual basis of Mr Kashamu’s allegations remained unclear at this time as the EFCC is yet to make its findings public.
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