Investigation mounted into Sierra Leone’s sport betting industry indicates that the Ministry of Trade is set to issue an illegal licence to a Liberian sport-betting company known as BWinners.
Minister of Trade cannot be reached at for comment regarding the allegation.
The company which has been doing business in Liberia has already established offices on Wilberforce Street in Freetown ready to do business most likely at the expense of established rules.
The Liberian sport-betting company now awaits the issuance of a licence to commence operations in the not-too-distant future.
As the company struggles to gain a foothold in the country’s sport-betting industry, questions most frequently asked are whether the company, BWinners would go through the legally accepted procedures of doing business in Sierra Leone.
But, the most important question is which ministry that should issue licence to a sport-betting company that intends to do business in the country.
In a recent interview with head of National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA), Mr Ibrahim Brima Swarray, it is clear that Ministry of Finance is the legal issuer of a licence to a sport-betting company that wants to do business in Sierra Leone.
During a visit by Nightwatch to the staff of BWinners, they could not release all details about the stages they have gone through to get their company registered and licenced.
Trends in the sport-betting industry show that Sierra Leone is being hunted by rapacious sport-betting companies.
The real intention of their investment in Sierra Leone remains hidden and unknown.
However, Sierra Leone remains an investment destination as it has quite recently simplified hitherto cumbersome procedures of owning and operating a business in the country.
Regardless of government’s strong desire to attract investors, it is making sure that the country is safe from rogue ones.
In spite of the strong safeguards for a sound business climate, they are on the threshold of being infringement by companies who collude with unscrupulous government officials.
Evidence of exploitation of the country’s business environment also showcased recently when a sport-betting industry, FORAC was going to operate in the country under an expired licence of a South African company, AIL.
AIL was a company contracted by the oldest sport-betting company, Lotto for the supply of machines and other equipment to carry out its trade.
As it stands, Lotto is on the verge of privatisation as much is not realised when run as a parastatal.
The operation of Lotto means more financial burden on government than profit as it spends more than it receives.
Put in plain terms, Lotto has failed miserably as a business entity as it cannot make money to keep it up and running.
The period marking the privatisation of Lotto ushered a syndicate of an illegal entry of sport betting companies to do business in the country.
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