Sunday, September 26, 2021

BFA suspends two officials for alleged P500k theft

Botswana Football Association (BFA) has suspended two of its employees on suspicion they had siphoned more than half a million pula from its already drying coffers.

The employees, who are suspected to have been working together, are said to have diverted the alleged funds over a period of eleven months, starting in March last year.

“This was a sophisticated and elaborate scheme that easily went unnoticed through the BFA financial checks and policies. It is a white collar crime,” a source explained.

Despite BFA’s recent attempts to strengthen their financial checks and policies, the employees are said to have found loopholes within the system, which they then used to channel out monies out of the BFA.

While details are sketchy, information gleaned from sources at Lekidi has revealed that the said employees channeled out money meant to pay some of BFA’s suppliers into their accounts without rousing any suspicions.

It is suspected that when processing payments for the BFA suppliers, the perpetrators did all the paperwork right but would on the final steps, when paying through the bank, put their own accounts under the names of the companies they were supposed to pay.

“This was someone intelligently using technology to siphon monies out of the BFA. All the paperwork is done with proper details, payees’ names and accounts all correct. The problem only starts when money is paid through the bank. That is when they change only the account numbers but not the names of the payees. This made it difficult for the crime to be picked as all the details on paperwork are correct,” the source revealed.

It is said that the suspects’ thrifty little scam came to the eye when one of the payees’ approached the association demanding payment for services.

“The association then showed the payee paperwork that money has been paid. However, when the payee revealed no monies had been paid, the association went to the bank only to realize that the names of the payee were there but the final destination account of the payee had been switched and was not the same as the one on all the paperwork signed for,” the source revealed.

Reached for comment, the BFA Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo confirmed the association had suspended two of its employees but refused to delve into detail as investigations are still at early stages.

“All I can reveal is that we have suspended the suspects,” the BFA CEO said. “In terms of preserving the confidentiality clause that is signed between employer and employee I cannot at this stage reveal names of any employee involved in any allegations,” he said.

Mfolo went on to reveal that the association has also put another officer on a forced leave to allow for smooth investigations. The said individual, though not implicated in any wrong doing, is said to have been put on forced leave as the crimes were committed by employees under her supervision.

“What I can confirm is that one other employee was placed on provisional leave to allow investigations on certain operations and internal controls of the association,” Mfolo explained shying from revealing the names.

Asked what the reasons for their suspensions are he said, “the integrity and credibility of the federation should be respected at this point in time in an effort not to jeopardize the investigations.”

Meanwhile, sources say that the association is intending to fire the two employees implicated in the fraud since it is not the first time they committed the act.

BFA is one of the country’s sporting codes that always cry that there is lack of funds on their side to execute their mandate fully.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper