Business News of 2014-07-08

NLA, MTN fight persists

David Lamptey, counsel for National Lottery Authority (NLA), has described the ‘Go Rio’ promotion of Scancom Ghana Limited, operators of MTN as a lottery. He believes the just-ended ‘MTN Go Rio’ promotion was a lottery, which is the sole preserve of the NLA as indicated in the National Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 772).

According to Mr. Lamptey, no person under section 4(1) of the Act could operate any form of lottery other than the NLA, adding that “no judge has the authority to grant immunity to a party from the consequences of breaching an Act of Parliament.” Scancom Ghana had filed an application at the Fast Track Division of an Accra High Court challenging the capacity of NLA to restrain MTN from continuing with its ‘Go Rio’ promotion.

At the court, presided over by Justice L. L. Mensah yesterday in Accra, Mr. Lamptey said MTN has not adduced any evidence in court to show that they were running a consumer promotion. “It’s not a consumer promotion, they can never run away from it, high points are used to select winners, if you (MTN) want to organize a promotion make sure it does not stray into lottery,” he said.

Mr. Lamptey stated that MTN was clearly deceiving the public with respect to the number of cars it promised to give to winners at the end of the promo. He stated that MTN said in its supporting affidavit that it would give four cars to its winners, while the terms and conditions of the promo also indicated 15 cars.

Counsel for NLA further averred that Cynthia Lumor, Head of Corporate Affairs, MTN, in a recent report at the end of the promo, was quoted as saying that two cars would be offered to customers at the end of the draw. However, counsel for the applicants, Samuel Cudjoe, accused Mr. Lamptey of deliberately producing a ‘concocted’ story by DAILY GUIDE in court to argue his case.

He insisted that MTN Go Rio’ was purely promotional and intended to award subscribers. The ‘MTN Go Rio’ promotion has been designed by the telecommunication giant to reward customers over a period of four months from the date of its launch with prizes, including Kia Rio saloon cars, all-expense paid trips to and from Brazil, 32-inch Samsung LED TVs, Samsung Galaxy tabs, phones and free airtime.

The NLA had moved an ex-parte application in an Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Francis Obiri, to stop MTN from holding the promotion. In the NLA’s reliefs, they are seeking a declaration that the promotion was not a consumer or marketing promotion but in fact and law, a lottery as defined by the Courts of Ghana and prohibited by section 4(1) of ACT 772.

The NLA also wants a declaration that the promotion “has all the attributes and elements of a lottery under the laws of the Republic of Ghana, being the existence of a prize to be won through draw or chance after spending a little more on voice, data and SMS than usual as a precondition for obtaining the opportunity to stand the chance to win a fantastic prize.”

The NLA further wants a permanent injunction restraining the defendant, its agents, assigns, servants, affiliates, associates and workmen either by themselves or in conjunction or association with any individuals or organization from arranging, promoting, sponsoring, organizing any draw.

The NLA is also seeking an order compelling MTN to pay into Court or an Escrow Account the revenue it had generated from the date of launch of the promo till the date of its cessation or termination.