Malta President Visits NLA

Dr. George Vella

The President of Malta, Dr. George Vella and the First Lady of Malta, Mrs. Mary-Anne Vella, on Friday, March 8, 2024, paid a working visit to the National Lottery Authority (NLA) as part of a three-day state visit to Ghana.

The Board Chairman, His Eminence Torgbui Francis Seth Nyonyo, Director-General, Mr. Samuel Awuku, Deputy Director-General, Ms. Anna Horma Miezah, and some management members received President Vella and his delegation.

President Vella was accompanied by the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Malta, Barbara Akuorkor Benisa and Malta’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Jean Claude Galea Mallia and a team from Malta.

While thanking President Vella and his delegation for honouring NLA with the visit, the Director-General of the NLA, Mr. Samuel Awuku, chronicled the NLA’s journey from its inception as the Department of National Lotteries (DNL) to its transition to the National Lottery Authority (NLA), highlighting the role the Maltese Government played in its establishment.

He recounted to the delegation how the Maltese Government, upon request from the then Prime Minister, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, assisted Ghana in setting up a lottery institution by sending Maltese Public Officers of the Malta Lotteries Department to Ghana. This was after the then Finance Minister, Mr. Komla Gbedemah, discovered the lottery in Malta while on an official assignment.

One of the two officers, Mr. William Francis Brennan, who was instrumental in establishing DNL, later became its Director-General from 1958 to 1967. Appreciative of the gesture by the Maltese Government, the NLA named its Draw Hall, the Brennan Hall and erected a bust on its compound in honour of Mr. William Francis Brennan.

Mr. Awuku also talked about the NLA’s Good Causes Foundation, established in 2021 under the leadership of the Board Chairman, His Eminence Torgbui Francis Nyonyo, and the NLA Governing Board. The Foundation gives back to society and has impacted the lives of over 400,000 people.

Mr. Awuku thanked President Vella and the team for the cooperation between NLA and the Republic of Malta, and called for more collaboration in the years ahead.

“Mr. President, we also want to begin an exchange programme with the Malta Gaming Authority where some of our staff can visit Malta every year to learn about best practices and new technologies,” he stated.

In recounting how the lottery was initiated in his country, President Vella commended the NLA for sustaining the lottery business over the years and contributing to society through the Good Causes Foundation, as Malta is currently doing.

“The NLA has done well to sustain this for more than 60 years since its introduction, and the reviews have been good. When we started the lottery in Malta, we did not know that it would have a positive effect here in Ghana, and I must say I am very impressed with what I have seen so far,” he pointed out.

After interacting with management, President Vella and the delegation were led to Mr. William Francis Brennan’s bust to pay homage. Subsequently, they proceeded to Brennan Hall to interact with the NLA staff.