Saturday, July 11, 2020

Did BFA benefit from CAF’s alleged bribes for loyalty?

BY DUNCAN KGANGKENNA

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is alleged to be among continental football bodies that have received and disbursed alleged bribes from the continental football body CAF.

Of recent, allegations have cropped up that CAF president Ahmad Ahmad had paid bribes to African football presidents to buy loyalty.

According to Reuters, the revelations of the CAF president’s alleged tacky deeds were revealed by the recently expelled CAF secretary general, Amr Fahmy, in a document detailing how the CAF president was misusing the continental football body’s money.

The document, sent on March 31 by Fahmy to a Fifa body that investigates alleged ethics breaches and seen by Reuters, accuses Ahmad of ordering his secretary-general to pay $20 000 (+/- P200 000) bribes into accounts of African football association presidents.

The Sunday Standard has it in good authority that the BFA has also received the said moneys, making it complicit in the dirty deals with the CAF president.

Sources close this publication have revealed that the money, amounting to P200 000 has since been disbursed to the BFA president by the association.

According to the sources the money was allegedly to be used by the BFA leader on “his official travels.” It is however said despite receiving such amounts, the association continues to foot Letshwiti’s travel bills.

It is alleged that some officials at Likidi, the BFA headquarters, were against the money being given out to the BFA president, reasoning that the office procedures should be followed and that the president only be given money as and when the trips come.

“The BFA president cannot be given the lump sum because he might not attend all the CAF or FIFA assignments. Other officials might represent him or he can become sick and fail to go. We asked on how the BFA s going to get back the money when he is fail to attend to official trip. We also reasoned that the BFA president can resign on the way or can be recalled by football authorities” said a source.

The Sunday Standard has sent enquiries to the BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo who did not want to comment on them.

“I cannot comment to the issues you have raised” Mfolo briefly said. The BFA public relations officer further told this publication that he has talked to Maclean Letshwiti and was to talk to the BFA CEO to answer on his behalf.

The Sunday Standard had asked the BFA to confirm whether it is true or not that the money was deposited into Letshwiti’s personal account from the BFA account.

And also whether the arrangement was only for the BFA leader or cover other National Executive Committee members and BFA officials, and whether they too have received the same amount of money.

The publication wanted to know whether there was any instruction from CAF to give Letshwiti P200 000 and whether the BFA has budgeted for the money received by its leader.

Past immediate CAF and FIFA presidents were accused of corruption that saw them unceremoniously forced out of office.

Sources say the case has been reported to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to investigate any possibility of economic crime.

The BFA has for a long time been unable to execute its assignments because there was no money.

The document also accused Ahmad of costing CAF an extra $830 000 (about R11.59 million) by ordering equipment via a French intermediary company called Tactical Steel.

Furthermore, it accuses him of harassing four female Caf staff, whom it did not name; violating statutes to increase Moroccan representation within the organisation; and over-spending more than $400 000 (about R5.58 million) of Caf money on cars in Egypt and Madagascar, where a satellite office has been set up for him.

Ahmad, who is also a vice-president of world governing body Fifa, did not respond to requests for comment on the allegations against him.

Fahmy was replaced by Mouad Hajji, from Morocco.

“The Ethics Committee does not comment on potential ongoing proceedings, nor on whether or not investigations are underway into alleged ethics cases,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

Additional reporting Reuters

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.