Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Let the truth out!

The audit of the Botswana Premier League (BPL) was supposed to, once and for all, give finality to the allegations of misappropriation of funds at the troubled organ. However, this has not come to pass. 

Almost three months since the South African audit firm ADM Financial Forensic Services’ audit report of the BPL was released, it has not yet been warmly received. According to sources, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) is yet to adopt the report.
On the other hand, the man who has come under scrutiny from the report, former BPL Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi, has cast aspersions at the report, which he, whether rightly or wrongly, believes is not legal. 
In fact, the axed CEO wants the report to be debated in the open courts to determine its legality and its fairness. 
This view, however, contradicts that of the BFA, who before firing Mamelodi, believed he should ventilate his grievances about the report at their then planned disciplinary hearing.
According to the scope of the report, “a decision was made that the transactions for the period April 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016 would be analysed to determine whether any maladministration and or criminal and/or fraudulent activities could be identified”. 
For Mamelodi’s legal eagles, the period under investigation may come under severe scrutiny as for some time under the stipulated period, Mamelodi was under suspension.  He was suspended by the BPL Board in absentia on March 26, 2016.
Another point of contention under the scope of investigation is likely to be the documents used for the review. According to the report, a review was undertaken to find whether there was “a confirmation that all transactions were executed in accordance to the BFA Financial Regulations and Procedures Manual published in September 2014”. The review was also set to “verify that the Financial Authority Limits have been adhered to”.
This is also likely to be a point of contention, with sources revealing that while the said BFA Financial Regulations and Procedures Manual published in September 2014 had been adopted and was used by the BFA, “it was never migrated to the BPL”.
“The BPL was semi-autonomous and for them to use the BFA financial manual, their board would have had to adopt it. If they agreed to such or wanted to adapt it and formulate their own, they would have done that. The only difference is that had they decided to make their own or adapt the BFA finance manual, the BFA NEC would have had to approve their financial policy manual first before it could be used,” the source revealed.
The source observed that as a semi-autonomous body, the BPL made its own decisions and had its procurement processes which were different from that of the BFA. 
“That is why the BPL had its own Secretariat, Financial Committee and its Treasurer, who was part of the BPL Board. These operated parallel to the BFA Secretariat and Financial Committee which worked under the BFA Vice President Finance and Marketing,” the source noted.
Another area of contention, which came to light during Mamelodi’s failed attempt to stop his DC hearing, is likely to be the manner in which the whole audit interviews was conducted.
While the employees of the BPL, more especially its accounting officer Mpiwa Bosenogile were interviewed, the same is said not to have been afforded to Mamelodi.
“Under any normal forensic investigation, when all evidence has been collected and interviews with possible witnesses have been done, the investigators will then approach the main suspect or target,” another source revealed.
According to the source, an interview with the suspect, in this case the axed BPL CEO, would have formed a crucial part of evidence and would have cleared some potential lapses of information.
“If they have not interviewed Mamelodi but are levelling allegations against him, it is unlikely they will stand the test of the law if such a case comes before the court of law,” the source revealed. 
“If one of the employees alleges that Mamelodi did some transaction, he should be given a chance to tell his own side of the story and maybe shed light on how that transaction came to be,” the source concluded.
The other question is likely to be whether the axed BPL CEO had the powers to unilaterally authorise transactions at the BPL. For a while now, Mamelodi has maintained that the transactions of the BPL were authorised by the board through either the BPL board chairman or his vice.
However, as with Mamelodi, there is nowhere in the report where it is stated that they were interviewed to get their stories to determine whether they did authorise the said transactions.

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