Thursday, October 28, 2021

Resilient Benito stands firm

Bad blood is boiling at Lekidi as the legal gymnastics between suspended Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) continue ad infinitum.

According to sources close to Lekidi, as the planned disciplinary hearing against Mamelodi continues to flop, the Maclean Letshwiti-led BFA National Executive Committee now wants the suspended BPL CEO to be “fired and probably banned from all football activities”.

In what has been a to and fro battle, Mamelodi has continued to stall over appearing for the disciplinary hearings, pending the BFA availing to him the documents “he needs to defend himself”. On the other hand, the BFA is said to be “not so keen to defend the outcomes of the BPL Forensic Audit” in a court of law, but rather wants Mamelodi to appear before the disciplinary board.

With the matter now looking more likely to drag on and on with no end in sight, an exasperated BFA leadership is said to be now calling for the suspended BPL CEO to be fired. According to sources, one of the suggestions put forth at the BFA NEC meeting this past Friday was that the embattled Mamelodi be sacked forthwith. 

The motion was, however, said to have not been welcomed by all the NEC members, with some of them opining that the Forensic Audit be availed to them first to peruse and adopt it before any decision can be taken.

 “I think the problem here is that none of the two parties is willing to take a route which they feel will have an unfavourable outcome to them,” a source close to Lekidi revealed. 

“For Mamelodi, he feels he cannot go to a disciplinary hearing when some documents he had required from the BFA to help him defend himself have not been availed. You must remember that among the documents he had requested were the minutes of the BFA NEC meeting which adopted the Forensic Report as well as the General Ledger of the BPL finances. 

“Up to now, the BFA has failed to avail such documents to him,” a source revealed. “Mamelodi therefore feels that the BFA wants to avoid giving him a fair hearing and is willing to do all he can to ensure the audit is put to the test in a court of law,” the source continued.

According to the source, this is, however, not the view from inside Lekidi where the feeling is that the suspended CEO is just employing delaying tactics to avoid a hearing.

“BFA, on the other hand, seem like they do not want to defend the forensic audit in the courts of law. They feel they have given Mamelodi all the documents he needs and that the suspended BPL CEO should just face the music. 

“According to the BFA, if Mamelodi has any misgivings on the audit, the right way for him will be to ventilate them at his planned hearing and if not satisfied, he will still have an option to appeal to the courts of law,” the source said.

Reached for comment, BFA Public Relations Officer Tumo Mpatane said the association was still in no position to go public on the Mamelodi case.

“We cannot make any official statement regarding the Mamelodi case. This is a sensitive internal matter and we will only come to the media once we have something official to share,” Mpatane said.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper