Probe Safaricom’s Lotteries, Says Senate Speaker

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro has ordered an investigation into whether money raised in lotteries, especially by foreign-owned companies, is repatriated out of the country.

This is after Kenya citizen Lucy Kache Ngao petitioned the Senate to investigate the activities of mobile network service provider Safaricom.

Ngao said through media campaigns she was made to believe she would be an instant millionaire if she participated in the Bonyeza Ushinde na Safaricom promotion.

It was held from August 7 to October 5 last year and from November 7 last year to January 5 this year.

Her petition was tabled on Wednesday by Senator Emma Mbura.

Mbura said some lotteries are a means to fleece poor Kenyans of their hard-earned money.

“We need to probe all these lottery competitions from different companies afresh. Some are too good to be true, thus attracting desperate and unsuspecting Kenyans,” she told the Star on the phone on Wednesday.

Ethuro said the petition raises important issues and ordered the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to investigate.

He said issues include appropriate regulatory framework for gaming control and licensing and the need for reform to address the new medium of gaming, such as mobile phones.

Ethuro said the public needs to be educated on gaming and lotteries and their effects on participants.

The regulation of betting, casinos and other gambling is a county function.

Ethuro said the Senate should come up with laws to regulate the industry at both the national and county level.

He ordered the committee to table a report in 60 days.