BFA fate in FIFA’s hands

Governing body: FIFA will decide if BFA is pardoned or placed on restricted funding PIC: BELGA.AFP.DERUNGS
Governing body: FIFA will decide if BFA is pardoned or placed on restricted funding PIC: BELGA.AFP.DERUNGS

Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti has admitted the recent diversion of more than P6million has left a serious dent on the association’s image.

Letshwiti wrote to FIFA after it came to light that funds meant for projects and COVID-19 relief had been used for BFA operations. Following the funds diversion, a pair of former BFA president, David Fani and Solomon Mugende touched down in the country last week Friday to probe the matter. Fani is now FIFA development officer for southern and eastern Africa, while Mugende is senior development manager.

The delegation is said to have raised concerns about the low level of discipline and poor working relationship among BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

There are reports that some NEC members clashed in front of the FIFA delegation. Fani and Mugende reportedly emphasised the need for NEC members to cultivate a cordial working relationship to take the association forward. A preliminary report has been released, but the association will not make it public yet pending a final determination from the world football governing body.

It is reported that the FIFA delegation made it clear to BFA that the association was in breach after failing to inform Zurich authorities of intentions to divert the project funds for the association’s operations. Despite that, BFA could escape with a caution as funds were not embezzled but diverted for the day-to-day running of the association, instead of the intended projects financed by FIFA. “Money was used for purposes not intended and there was no authority to do so,” Letshwiti said in an interview this week. “The best case scenario is for them to understand the circumstances that led to that and the fact that we came forth. As soon as we discovered the anomaly we informed them. It’s not that this thing happened because there were no policies and procedures in place. It just blatant, flagrant flouting of regulations.

The worst is for Botswana to be put on what we call restricted funding, where you are given a little bit to do something. FIFA’s aim is not to totally punish but they have to be convinced that the next funding will be used appropriately as dictated by FIFA,” he said. Letshwiti also said the disciplinary process will proceed, and it was not up to him to determine. Already, BFA chief executive officer, Goabaone Taylor has been suspended, with other senior members within the NEC likely to face uncomfortable questions. Letshwiti emphasised that the money was not missing, but was diverted without permission. He said the situation could have been averted if authorisation was sought from the NEC first and then FIFA, which is the procedure. “FIFA could have approved or rejected the request,” he said.

The BFA boss said the issue dates back to April, and asked how as president, these had gone unnoticed under his radar, Letshwiti said there were people in charge. “The president delegates authority. If he is not informed how else will he know? The person given responsibility should discharge it responsibly and in a legitimate manner.

Yes, some could say doesn’t the president check, but there is a layer of people to do that. The president is given information to talk to,” Letshwiti said. The incident has dented BFA’s image and could have affected relations at Lekidi Centre, with heads likely to roll in the coming days.

The FIFA verdict would be crucial, but with or without punitive action from the world governing body, movements are expected at BFA. Letshwiti admitted it was the association’s lowest moment since he took over. “People are very sorry. Its an unfortunate situation. Its not a good thing. But the money has not been stolen. NEC is now aware that we have to tighten the screws.

These things could be stopped at finance director level,” he said. Read the full Letshwiti interview on Page 34

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up