…. Organisers blame technology failure
By Martin Ekpeke
A middle-aged woman, simply referred to as Janet has narrated how her sister was allegedly defrauded via the Better Life Billionaire Promo, organized last year by NNB Capital and Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Eczellon Capital, an investment and advisory firm.
Narrating the story to ITPulse via email, she said the sister, whom she refused to reveal her name, citing security implication emerged as one of the winners of Better Life Billionaire Promo weekly draws and ought to have been paid N2million cash prize.
Asked what steps her sister has taken to get the cash prize, Janet explained she petitioned the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and had NNB Capital and Investment Limited sign agreement to pay the cash prize by November 2019. She stated that the agreement was signed at no 56b, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Ikeja.
Despite the agreement, the cash prize, according to her has not been paid. Rather, NNB Capital and Investment Limited, organizer of the Better Life Billionaire Promo, came up with a proposal to pay N120, 000 to each winner, instead of the N2million and N5million that were respectively won.
The proposal, according to her was rejected by the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB), insisting that the least cash prize it will support any winner to accept is N250, 000.
Parts of Janet’s email read: “The Better Life Billionaire Promo, which took place last year turned out to be a scam. To date, the winners are yet to be paid their winnings (N2million and above) despite signing an agreement (at no 56b, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Ikeja) with the organizers, NNB Capital and Investment Limited. It’s a shame they were licensed by LSLB and NLRC. They would soon be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution, so others like them can stay clear of scamming Nigerians of their money.”
Her second email to TPulse’s further inquiries read: “Thank you for your mail. I am Janet and my sister emerged as one of the winners of their weekly draws. The case has been reported to the LSLB and NLRC, however, it has dragged on for long. The last meeting with LSLB was earlier this month and they’re giving them (NNB capital and Investment Limited, the organizers of the promo more time till the middle of April 2020 to bring another proposal. The initial meeting was last year where they submitted a proposal of N120,000 to pay each participant and the LSLB rejected it and asked they bring a proposal of nothing less than N250,000. However, at the last meeting, they came with the same proposal and then LSLB is giving more time as stated above, urging the petitioners (winners of the promo) not to take the case to court. I want to believe this is all a game to frustrate the petitioners to give up on claiming their winnings. “
Meanwhile, NNB Capital and Investment Limited has blamed technology failure on payment platforms and telecoms network connectivity, which resulted in the project realizing less than 0.01 percent of the projected inflow over the period that the promo lasted.
In an email response to ITPulse queries, Mr. Maxwell Osuji, the Programme Coordinator at NNB Capital and Investment Limited, explained that despite these challenges, the Promo paid more than 400 percent, which represents 4 times the total receipts of the campaign as rewards to winners.
“The Project was suspended midway owing to factors beyond the control of NNB Capital and Investment Limited, with issues including, but not limited to Technology Failure on payment platforms and telecoms network connectivity, resulting in project realizing less than 0.01 percent of the projected inflow over the period,” he stressed.
Maxwell also stated that in the spirit of transparency, the project, with its developments, has been submitted to the regulators who are currently administering the issues towards appropriate resolutions.
He also disclosed that the Better Life Billionaire Promo was organized with two ultimate objectives: to better the lives of Nigerians irreversibly with record prize winnings in Cash and Investments to its winners, and to contribute to the infrastructural development in the country through a channeling portion of its net proceeds to the development of select infrastructure.
Also, an investigation by ITPulse shows that the Better Life Billionaire (BLB) Promotion is a mobile-based USSD lottery campaign initiated and promoted by NNB Capital and Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Eczellon Capital.
A permit for the promo was initiated and issued to Sponge Limited, NNB Capital technology partner for the promo that was to run for 13 weeks. The BLB Promo initial aim was to generate a weekly prize of ₦50 million for 10 winners (5m each) and a grand prize of ₦200 million from the play of ₦200 and ₦500 respectively. This changed in the third week of the promo to 2M for 5 winners weekly and a grand prize of 20 Million.
Winners were to be rewarded with cash prizes with the option of securing assets and investments with a percentage of their cash prizes to ensure they invest their cash rewards profitably. There were three ways by which players engaged in the promo; WebAPP, USSD and Text to play with N200 for the weekly winning or N500 for the grand prize. Players were entitled to 10 plays per day.
Further investigation also revealed the promo ran at a loss owing to continuous technical issues throughout the campaign; this also limited the platforms which people could play from three (SMS, USSD & Web) to just one, which majority of the target do not necessarily have access to on the go.
This led to the change in the prize rewards, which ultimately was a major drawback for the campaign as it brought to surface trust issues on the player’s part and to the credibility of the promo, just when it began to gain momentum.
Changes to the winnings put a dent in the initial wariness/doubt that had been overcome by previous communications with low inflow, which stood at about NGN5.7Million and high payout, which is estimated at NGN18Million