Saturday, October 24, 2020

Premier League Courting trouble

A courtroom showdown is looming between the embattled Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi and the Botswana Football Association (BFA). This follows the alleged redeployment of the beleaguered CEO from the BPL Secretariat to the BFA. While the BFA Chief Executive Officer Kitso Kemoeng was coy with details regarding the redeployment, rumours of Mamelodi’s new assignment started flying fast and thick after last Tuesday’s BFA Emergency Committee meeting

The meeting was attended by the BFA President Maclean Letshwiti and his two vice presidents, Segolame Ramotlhwa and Pelotshweu Motlogelwa as well as Kemoeng. It is alleged that at the said meeting, a decision was taken by the BFA Emergency Committee to ‘temporarily redeploy’ Mamelodi to the BFA ‘to give way to a forensic audit exercise.’

In the aftermath of the Tuesday meeting, a whatsapp message purported to be from the BPL Board Chairman Rapula Okaile was sent to the BPL Board whatsapp group informing members that the BPL CEO will be redeployed. “It’s nothing, it’s the feedback on the resolutions, and they were all carried. There was no meeting of the working committee as we have put it. As stated that there is no suspension that’s what is going to happen and the CEO will be redeployed to BFA and Stiles (allegedly referring to Thabo Ntshinogang) will be appointed on acting basis. The forensic audit will go on as planned. 2. The financials of BPL will be controlled from BFA offices. 3. The league will start in October 2016. 4. The price money will be released this week except for one and two, which have not been determined and hopefully that could be done before the start of the league. I have been instructed to update you on this though it has to remain with you until a press statement is released by BFA which should be very soon. This is for you as Chairman I had to brief you beforehand so you do not get it from the Social Media, and please do not take it there before the Press Statement is issued,” so read the whatsapp message. Following the said message, Mamelodi’s attorney, Dutch Leburu sent the BFA a letter on Friday afternoon warning them ‘not to effectuate (put into force)’ the contents of the said whatsapp message as it would be against the interim order granted by the court. Leburu warned the BFA that should they do as the message said, they will approach the court for ‘interdict and contempt.’ “It is patently clear from the above that any attempt to effectuate the contents of the above whatsapp message would be to defeat the objective of the interim order granted by court… The conduct aforesaid is aimed at pre-empting the court decision and undermining the authority of the court,” Leburu’s letter to the BFA read.

Reached for comment, Kemoeng said he was not aware of any decision to redeploy Mamelodi. He however confirmed that the BFA Emergency Committee did meet to discuss a variety of urgent matters, which included outstanding issues at the Premier League. “I had to leave the meeting early due to some other commitments and I am not privy to any information relating to the BPL CEO’s redeployment. I have not been informed of such a decision,” the BFA CEO explained. 

Despite Kemoeng’s assertions, a mysterious letter was sent to the embattled BPL CEO on Friday informing him of his redeployment. According to the source, the mysterious letter, which is dated 31st August, confirmed the redeployment of Mamelodi. “The letter confirmed what the whatsapp message had long said that the BPL CEO will be redeployed. In the letter, Mamelodi was informed that at the BFA Emergency Meeting, the committee discussed the ongoing audit as well as Mamelodi’s relationship with the BPL Board,” a source said. “The letter informed him that the Emergency Committee resolved that the ongoing forensic audit exercise be conducted as a matter of urgency,” the source continued.  According to the source, the letter also informed Mamelodi that he will be redeployed to the BFA Secretariat with immediate effect where he will ‘report to the CEO of BFA.’ 

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