SIERRA LEONE, Freetown – The General Manager of BET Salone, Nicholas Nicol has confirmed to Awoko that they disconnected all electrical connections of the spaces they occupied at the building of Sierra Leone State Lottery (SLSL) because all the resources spent in installing those, came from the investment of BET Salone.
Explaining his part, Nicol stated that “BET Salone had an agreement with Accord Logistics, a company that was granted the permission to privatize SLSL. Upon our partnership with Accord because they have a Joint Venture (JV) with SLSL, we spent 100% of all the resources used to renovate the building of SLSL. “For that building, BET Salone spent $50,000 last year to renovate the building which is equivalent to over 800 million Leones as at now and also gave over a hundred million for the electrification of the areas we occupied,” he stressed.
“For the partnership, Accord needed money. Thus, we came in with all the resources, technology and expertise. After all necessary arrangements, Accord thereafter signed an agreement under the agreement of BET Salone with another company called Big Winners. As a company, we were not happy about it because we spent all the money in reviving the SLSL without a cent from Accord,” he further explained.
“In fact, we also paid them for the license we were operating on which we have receipts for and also paid the salaries of staff of SLSL,” Nicol stated. He mentioned that they were forced to employ every staff of state lottery, adding that they never rejected working with them but noted that they integrated all of them with each and everyone receiving salaries earlier than staffs of BET Salone in as much as they are a private entity,” he continued.
According to him, BET Salone operates from Mondays to Fridays and they do not close on holidays like Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. “Because I observed that staff of SLSL did not comply with the working conditions of BET Salone, I started to reduce some of the things I did for them,” he admitted.
“In June 2022, we were given a letter from SLSL which stated that since we did not employ staffs of SLSL, they have another company which is ready to do that and as such, we should move out of the building which we paid $50,000 for a year’s rent. We received the letter and told them that we are not ready to move out since our rent was not due,” Nicol furthered.
“After we secured our own license, we decided to move out, removing all that was bought with our money. Everything in the spaces we occupied in that building was paid for by us and not from state lottery,” he maintained.
He confirmed that they left there on Sunday and there was no need to inform SLSL because they handed an eviction letter to them. “Earlier yesterday, we called Mr. Rogers, a personnel of SLSL and showed him our license and I have all documents to prove that I spent my money on whatever was removed by us,” he disclosed.
“Conclusively, as a private business, we are not willing to give SLSL a big cut of the pie. The only reason why we left them is because of their behaviour towards us as they took another competitive company called Elephant Bet and in addition, for the past three months I have been paying electricity bills for my competitor and myself. I drew the attention of SLSL to arrange for joint contribution in settling the electricity bill but they refused. We await whatever decision they are ready to take against us. In fact, we have written a reply to their eviction letter earlier yesterday,” Nicol said.
Florence Kamara, the marketing officer of SLSL said “one thing I know is that, BET Salone who caused the damages occupied the ground floor and the first floor spaces of the state lottery building. They came to partner with SLSL but when they arrived, they categorically stated that they will not work with staffs of State Lottery.”
She explained that she was the very first person to work with BET Salone at Waterloo Street, adding that it was because of her that people became aware of the company. “BET Salone refused to work with staff of SLSL but they do employ others. I confronted them about this and thereafter, we held a meeting together with NCP since they are our supervisors. The chairman raised the issue at the meeting where the MD for BET was present but he stated that staff of State Lottery are liabilities. We accepted it. They run their business under our license because they do not have a license.” Kamara revealed.
She stated that on the day BET Salone did the damages, SLSL had security who were around but they only mentioned what had happened to the Chief Security after the damages were done.
“I want people of Sierra Leone to know that this is our country and for specific Sierra Leoneans to destroy state owned property is disgraceful, shameful and uncalled for. As an institution, we are waiting for the law to take its course,” Kamara stated. PSN/12/10/2022