A High Court in Accra on Wednesday dismissed an interlocutory injunction restraining the National Lotto Authority (NLA) from unilaterally reducing or reviewing its commission fee from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
The court noted that the NLA had the legal right to reduce the commission because under the Authority’s Act (Act 722 Section 28) it was empowered by its Governing Board to determine commissions that should be paid to Lotto Marketing Companies (LMCs).
According to the court, the NLA had procured Portable Automatic Data ticketing machines which could be used by the Association of LMCs and the National Lottery Receivers Union for other purposes such as money transfer, payment of utility bills which were all to their advantage.
Mr Justice F. G. Kobieh, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, who presided over the case, did not award any cost to the plaintiffs, namely the National Lottery Receivers Union and the Association of LMCs.
Last month, the NLA announced a reduction in the commission payable to LMCs from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
The plaintiffs, however, filed a motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction praying the court for an order restraining the NLA from unilaterally reducing or reviewing downward the agreed commission payable to them.
Others joined in the suit were Mr Kojo Andah, Director General, NLA and Authority’s Board Chairman, Dr Scali K. Agodzo.
In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs contended that they had registered with the NLA and had the membership of 20,000.
According to them as part of their operations, they had been licensed to distribute and sell the NLA’s lotto coupons on agreed commission basis.
The plaintiffs said by virtue of previous agreed terms over the years, the NLA paid them 25 per cent as commission of any sales made to cover their overhead expenses.
However, the plaintiffs said, the defendants had threatened and unilaterally announced the downward revision of the sales commission payable to them from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
According to the plaintiffs in the defendants’ bid to carry out their threats and unilateral decision they went ahead and issued press statements and publications in the newspapers.
The plaintiffs said the unilateral review which was to take place with effect from February 1 this year, was without consultation with the major stakeholders.
They said this contravened organised labour laws adding the reduction of the five per cent was without merit, unjust, unconscionable and against the all known natural principles of justice.
The plaintiffs were also seeking an order for immediate suspension or reversal of the NLA’s decision until all negotiations were completed.
In addition they were seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants, their servants, assigns, workmen from reducing the agreed percentage as well as cost.
The NLA, however, opposed to the plaintiffs claims.
Following the verdict, the NLA will meet this week to decide on when to implement the new commission.