Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Long legal route for axed Mamelodi and BFA

A year since his suspension from office, Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi was finally fired by the new Botswana Football Association (BFA) dispensation. 

He was given his marching orders from Lekidi this past Thursday.

Mamelodi’s firing comes after a long legal power play between him and the BFA. He has been fighting his employers who sought to haul him before the Disciplinary Committee (DC) for maladministration of the BPL office.

 The beleaguered Mamelodi was facing five counts of gross misconduct. He was charged with, among others, “having entered into various contracts without obtaining the authorisation of the BPL Board, misappropriation of the association’s funds and making unauthorised expenditures”, just to mention a few.

However, all the DC hearings against him had to be postponed time and again due to either legal power play or unwillingness by both parties to subject themselves to certain processes.

When the first DC hearing was expected to convene on February 20, earlier this year, Mamelodi dragged the BFA before the courts of law. He sought the court to interdict the DC hearings as well as to compel it (BFA) to provide him with some documents which would help him to defend himself.

While his attempt to interdict the proceedings was dismissed with costs by Justice Lakvinder Walia, the court, however, ordered the BFA to meet some pre-conditions before such a hearing could proceed.

The BFA was ordered “to make available to the applicant, all documents, reports, ledgers or other documents required by him for purposes of the hearing”.

Mamelodi has requested the general ledger for the entire period he is accused of having tampered with the league finances. He also requested the full transcript of all witness who gave evidence in his case.

The other documents he wanted the BFA to furnish him with prior to the hearing include the minutes of the BFA NEC meeting which adopted the forensic audit report, the minutes of the Audit and Compliance Committee meeting that discussed the forensic audit report including their recommendations, the minutes of the competent authority that appointed Clifford Mogomotsi to call for DC hearings against him and the reasons advanced by that authority for such appointment as well as the minutes of the BPL Board of Governors’ meeting where the forensic audit report was presented to them. 

According to sources close to the BFA, the association is alleged to have furnished Mamelodi with the required documents on or about February 27, paving a way for the hearing to continue.  

Ever since then, attempts by the BFA to convene a hearing against Mamelodi have failed, with the former CEO alleged to have called in sick every time he was called for a hearing.

Reached to give clarity on the matter, BFA Public Relations Officer Tumo Mpatane said: “For professional courtesy, the association cannot discuss the former CEO in public.” He added that the matter was an employee and employer issue.

Mpatane also refused to say whether the former BPL CEO was subjected to internal BFA DC proceedings before his axing. 

Though the BFA refused to shed light on why the BPL CEO was axed, it is alleged that the “conceived avoidance of hearing” by Mamelodi exasperated the BFA hierarchy and compelled it to sack him.

“The BFA felt that it was becoming impossible to hold the proposed hearings against the former BPL CEO as he was always unavailable. They felt the impasse was taking too long hence the decision to terminate his contract with immediate effect,” the source revealed.

While his axing would have been expected to be the end of the long fought battle between Mamelodi and the BFA, the former BPL CEO seems unlikely to take the matter lying down.

It is widely believed that he and his legal team will approach the courts for recourse, a process which will likely put the matter in the spotlight again.

Contacted for comment on the dismissal of Mamelodi his lawyer Dutch Leburu described it as a joke.

“We are going to take legal route,” Leburu said.

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