Multiple miracle VAT lottery winners: two investigations find ‘no irregularities’

Two separate investigations into the uncanny luck a handful of individuals have had with VAT receipt lottery have found no evidence of wrongdoing or irregularity, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told parliament on Monday as the House reconvened after the summer recess.

The investigation was launched after The Shift last July analysed more than a year’s worth of VAT lottery results by comparing the number of times the same identity card holders had won the VAT lottery, aimed at encouraging consumers to demand receipts in a bid to stem tax business tax evasion.

The Shift had exclusively reported how a total of 24 people had somehow managed to win the lottery on multiple occasions in under 18 months.

For example, a 64-year-old Cospicua resident won the VAT lottery no less than 13 times in under 18 months, cashing in a total of around €9,000.  A 41-year-old man from Siggiewi was more fortuitous and walked away with a total of €18,584 after just four wins. A 71-year-old from Naxxar was almost as lucky, having won the VAT lottery 11 times in the same period.

In all, The Shift uncovered another 23 lucky people who had their winning receipts drawn multiple times since January 2021 even though they were in the running with millions of other participating receipts.

The last article on the subject was published by The Shift on 12 July and by 18 July, according to Caruana, the investigation had been completed and no wrongdoing had been found.

All above board, Caruana insists

Caruana was answering a parliamentary question tabled by Opposition MP Jerome Caruana Cilia, who asked if there was an acceptable level of transparency in the lottery draw and whether an investigation had been conducted into what The Shift has reported.

Caruana informed the House this week that the Internal Audit and Investigations Department had launched its first investigation into the matter that was concluded in December 2021 and “no irregularity was found”.

The IAID then conducted another probe into the lottery draws, which was wrapped up on 18 July 2022 and, Caruana said, “once again, the process was found to be transparent and no anomalies were found”.

Caruana went on to explain how the National Audit Office’s annual report for 2017 had made a number of recommendations for revamping the lottery, which he said had been implemented.  Such changes, he said, included a new urn for the draw as its predecessor had not been shuffling the receipts properly.

‘Mathematically impossible’

But lottery experts who spoke to The Shift have claimed it would be close to “mathematically impossible” for the same participant to have his or her tickets extracted more than once in the same draw, which has a pool of some three million fiscal receipts.

They said, “It is not excluded that some participants are posting thousands of receipts, making the possibility of winning much bigger than others”.

The National Audit Office called for a revamp of the lottery in 2018 after discovering multiple shortcomings in its administration, which is what the finance minister referred to, albeit somewhat vaguely.

The system was introduced in the 1990s by then finance minister John Dalli as part of an effort to reduce rampant VAT evasion. Customers were encouraged to send their fiscal receipts to the VAT Department so as to participate in a monthly draw.

Several receipts were drawn each month during a televised event, with winners receiving 100 times their receipt’s value in cash. Receipts continue to be drawn until a €60,000 monthly cap is reached. The televised draw was stopped, however, when the Labour Party was elected to government in 2013.

                           
                           
                               
guest

12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marc Sant
Marc Sant
1 month ago

Is there just one aspect of Maltese life that is not a scam, that is not mired by corruption? Geeez

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago
Reply to  Marc Sant

Unfortunately the answer is highly unlikely. 😡

viv
viv
1 month ago
Reply to  Marc Sant

Independent journalism.

Mariatheresa Micallef
Mariatheresa Micallef
1 month ago

‘The urn not shuffling the receipts properly’ Hallina minnek Sur Caruana!
How dare you take us all for idiots. In any case the day that The Shift broke this story I decided to stop sending my vat receipts afterall the winners weren’t even posted on the website for all to check, anymore. I saved on envelopes and stamps. At the end of the day it’s the Govt’s job to make sure that every business pays it’s dues.

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
1 month ago

Never trust Clyde Caruana.
He is heartless.

Joseph
Joseph
1 month ago

Surely there’s no other nation as corrupt as Malta!

KLAUS
KLAUS
1 month ago
KLAUS
KLAUS
1 month ago

Last sentence:
The televised draw was stopped, however, when the Labour Party was elected to government in 2013.

BTW:
It was no longer transmitted, but certainly under the supervision of notaries and also recorded.

BTW:
Surely it will have been asked of the series winners.

carlos
carlos
1 month ago

VERU JEW?

Oliver J
Oliver J
1 month ago

Rather then looking at the lottery mechanism, the lucky winners should be looked at more closely. Possibly, themselves or some relations work in the hospitality industry and are exposed to hugh numbers of fiscal receipts left behind by patrons. These may all be diligently picked up and submitted to the lottery thus increasing the odds considerably.

Marisa Attard
Marisa Attard
1 month ago
Reply to  Oliver J

Some parishes do it for fundraising as well.

Related Stories

Prime Minister won’t disclose contract for aide appointed Cabinet Secretary
Prime Minister Robert Abela refuses to disclose the contract
Silvio Schembri courted catastrophe
Minister Silvio Schembri tweeted in April 2018 the flattering

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo