7 February 2019

Liberia: Gobet231 Again? -Employees Go Months Without Salaries

GoBet231, a registered Sports betting company in Liberia, financial problems seem to be deepening by the month with employees feeling the pinch of it.

Over the past months, several employees there complained of not taking salaries for over three months. "This is not easy at all. We have families and our children are in school. They need to be taken care of," Timothy, an employee

This is not the first time for GoBet231 to owe y its employees salaries. It can be recalled that few months ago, similar situation occurred which led to many employees threatening quietly to leave the entity. Not only that, but also, alleged that the company did not have the financial capabilities to carry on the operation.

"This is our main problem. Management keeps telling us that there is no good business and when things improve, they will see us," Timothy added.

With this month added, brings it to about three months non payment of salaries, if what some employees said should be taken for fact.

Last month, when similar situation occurred, our reporter visited the headquarters to ascertain facts. No senior manager was available at that time. Several phone calls were made to an official identified as Ousman. The calls were followed by text messages, but to no avail.

At that time, one of the workers only identified himself as James said, "up to now, we have not gotten our salary and many of us are thinking on the next thing to do. But you know, job business is hard so we are carful on what we do."

GoBet231 is owned by Palm Spring Resort.

During the visit to its offices last month, an employee only identified as E-man, confirmed the financial crisis the company is facing at present. He said, "cash business is hard. Business is hard also. The people only give us stipends and are not giving us our salary. It is almost three months now. Every time, they keep appealing to us."

The inability of Gobet231 has raised concern in the industry leading to several questions asked. "I think the National Lottery Authority(NLA) should bee blamed for all these. The head, Mr. Martin Kollie is just giving license to companies without any due diligence," a worker from NLA remarked on condition of anonymity.

But Mr. Kollie denied that last month when he was asked about this.

He said at the time; "Yes, we do know GoBet231. It is a brand name. But granting of license is done by the Chairman of the Board of Directors and members of the board." He denied granting license to any company unilaterally

He continued: "It falls (granting of licenses) under the direct supervision of the vice president of Liberia. There is someone in her office, Titus Charlie is the one you can call to speak on it. I cannot give license to any company alone," he said

Titus Charlie was contacted at the time. He confirmed Mr. Kollie's statement, but added: "the granting of license is with the board. The board looks into the company's request to see if they are up to task before such license is issued. If the board deems it fit, then, the license can be given."

"But at times, the determination is made by the board. On Gobet231, I will look into it and get back to you by tomorrow January 22, 2019. I do know that payment is done upfront," he said.

When this paper called Charlie on Wednesday for comment on the alleged delinquent of GoBet231, there was no answer. However, last month, when asked on the status of Gobet231, he did not confirm no deny its existence.

When contacted NLA for comment, a senior officer there confirmed the alleged poor financial standing of Gobet231. "We have been contacted about the inability of that company to pay its employees for sometime. This is something that NLA is studying. WE do not go looking for case, people bring these issues to us.

Another source at NLA told this paper last month that GoBet231 received sports betting license to operate in Liberia without paying into government's revenue the required license fees. Rather, an arrangement between the National Lottery Authority and GoBet231 be granted the license and payment be done on a stipulated basis. One source said that is not supported by the Act that created the National Lottery Authority (NLA).

The National Lottery Authority (NLA) is the agency responsible to grant license to all betting companies in the country.

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