Court halts Fidelity Bank “Reach for Gold” promotion

The Fast Track High Court (Commercial Division) has halted the ‘Reach for Gold’ promotion run by Fidelity Bank Limited.

The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, suspended the promotion until the issues of illegality has been determined after a full trial.

The court however did not award any cost against the bank.

Fidelity Bank Limited and Global Media Alliance jointly filed a motion on notice restraining the National Lottery Authority (NLA) from interfering with the ongoing “Reach for Gold” Promotion.

Fidelity was seeking a declaration that the NLA had no control or supervisory powers over the bank as far as the promotion was concerned and that the Authority‘s letter to the bank dated September 26, this year halting the promotions was not only unlawful but mischief.

It was further seeking a declaration that the NLA’s letter ordering the bank to stop the “Reach for Gold” promotion was tantamount to interference in the bank’s lawful business.

The bank in its statement of claim contended it had engaged the services of Global Media Alliance; a media organization to promote events, to organize a promotion to appropriate and reward it’s attracted new customers.

According to the bank in September this year, it commenced the promotions dubbed “Reach for Gold”, which was also intended to attract cash deposit by either encouraging existing customers to make more cash deposits or attracting new customers to open accounts and make cash deposits into their accounts.

With the promotion, the bank said customers at all material times had absolute control over their deposits and could add to or take from it as they please.

It contended it applied for permission from the Gaming Commission through a letter on August 26, this year and the Commission obliged.

At the commencement of the promotion, the bank said any customer or account holder, who deposited and maintained a minimum amount of GHc300 cedis or multiples in the said accounts for a month was given a coupon.

“Customers were notified by text messaging of the number of coupons they had earned depending on the cash deposits made.

At the end of the sixth month a general draw on all the coupons will be made and the overall winner will be entitled to a one kilogram of gold.

The bank said the NLA through its lawyers wrote to them to stop the promotion, saying it was illegal under the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722).

According to the bank, the NLA claimed that no person other than the Authority could conduct any form of lottery.

It contended that the promotion did not qualify as a lottery as defined under Act 722.

Additionally, the bank said the mandate of the NLA was clearly stated under Act 722 was to conduct lottery and not regulate promotion that did not constitute a lottery.

In a statement of defence, the NLA said the bank’s promotion was a lottery in disguise, which breached the National Lotto Act of 2006, Act 722.

According to the NLA, the bank was licenced to deliver banking services and ancillary products and not to engage in the business of running lottery for promotional purposes.

In an affidavit in opposition, the NLA noted that the bank’s promotion was “in deed and in fact Lottery” which was prohibited by Section 4 of the national Lotto Act, 2006 (Act 722).

According to the NLA, the Gaming Commission had no mandate to grant permits or license to the applicants to operate lotteries or game of chances.

The NLA said it was performing its statutory mandate to prohibit illegal lotteries by notifying the bank to put an end to an “illegality.”

According to the NLA the promotion contained all the elements of a lottery.

Source: GNA

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