After enjoying some relative peace for a while, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) may now find itself in the eye of the storm. This comes as law enforcement officers have been called on to investigate allegations of fraud at the association. One employee of the association has already been suspended for involvement on suspicion of fraudulent activities while others may yet still come under investigations. The said employee, a junior officer at the BAA, was suspended this past Thursday following a BAA Executive Committee meeting. News of the BAA officer’s suspension was confirmed today by the association’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Roland Masalila.
“I can confirm that indeed the association has suspended one of its officers on suspicion of conducting fraudulent activities,” the BAA PRO said in an interview. The BAA PRO could however not be drawn into delving much into the matter, saying the case is now before law enforcement officers for further investigations.
Sources close to the BAA say the employee has defrauded money from some companies, promising to offer them tenders at the association.
“What the employee did was he would approach companies and promise to give them tenders from the association. In return, the concerned companies would be expected to give him a certain agreed amount as kickbacks. In this whole transaction, the said companies would give the concerned BAA employee some agreed money in advance,” a source said.
It is further said most of the companies, who are suppliers, were given some Government Purchase Orders (GPO), which are no longer used by the BAA. The latest of such fraudulent activities is said to have occurred in August while the country’s athletes were at the Rio Olympics. During the said transaction, the approached company was promised a tender worth more than P500 000 to cater for people who will come for the reception of Team Botswana from the Rio Olympics. It is alleged that in that same dealing, a name and a signature of one of the members of the BAA Executive, who was by then still in Rio, Brazil, was forged to make the deal look authentic. The employee’s sleazy deals are said to have come to be known as companies started coming to the BAA offices to seek refunds. “What is surprising is that these companies fell for these scams despite knowing that they have not tendered for anything. They wanted to cut corners and get tenders through the backdoor and now they cannot even give a clear answer how they fell for these scams,” the source revealed. Still on the matter, another source within the BAA has revealed that some names of BAA executive committee members have been used in the fraudulent activities, raising further questions as to how many people are involved.
“At this moment, it is not very clear who was part of the fraudulent activities and who was not. But what we have gathered is that the concerned employee has written a letter to the BAA explaining that he was not acting alone. He has hinted that at least four other members of the BAA executive were part of the scam,” the source revealed. The BAA however refused to divulge the names of the investigators, saying the matter, saying it is ‘too early’ and the matter concerns ‘employee and employer relations.’ The BAA also refused to reveal how many companies were defrauded.