Thursday, October 1, 2020

Table tennis clubs cry foul over unpaid allowances

The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) clubs are up in arms against their executive, demanding answers on the belated disbursement of allowances and prizes.

The members, who played in two consecutive tournaments in September and December, are yet to receive their prize monies.

The prize monies are taken from club contributions in the form of participation fees, which, after tournaments are proportionally distributed according to positions attained.

A source that preferred anonymity alleged corruption on the part of the executive committee arguing that there is no other reason that could have led to the delay. The agitated source said what irks the most is that it is their own hard earned money that is being withheld from them. He said that on several occasions, they have approached the Executive Committee who would not afford them audience.

Some 11 players who were called for camp ahead of the Zone 6 games, which later did not materialize as only South Africa and Botswana confirmed participation instead of the required minimum five countries, recently received their P300 camping allowances. According to the Association president, Nathaniel Rakhudu, procedurally, the players are not supposed to have received the allowances as they have not been an activity report on the camp that was held on the 7th of December. He said that one of the main reasons allowances take time to be paid is the issue of activity reports. Rakhudu admittedly explained that his committee has been failing to timeously produce activity reports, something which he said they are working round the clock to rectify.

Asked on the causes of the delay, given the small size of the association, Rakhudu revealed that they could not access money from the bank account as it required signatures of the previous committee members, a problem he said the bank took unanticipated long time to fix. It would appear again as, according to the president, the bank had lost the BTTA file. Rakhudu even produced a letter from the bank that required verifications of signatures. He emphasized that they may be lacking accountability and he also did not rule out corruption.

“As the president, I have not as yet exhausted all the means to draw a conclusion that there are financial irregularities,” he said. He also said he is still to meet the committee for them to explain how they were able to give players camping allowances without an activity report.

Procedurally it is the activity report that gives an indication on how much was used; it is the same that is presented to the sports financier, the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC).

Rakhudu also rubbished allegations that they have not been willing to listen to their clubs on the issue. He said he realised that clubs are under the wrong impression that they were given money by BNSC ahead of the Zone 6 games, adding that since taking over in August last year, discovered internal lapses that should be blamed on the previous committees. The activity reports of the tournaments and the camp, he said, will be ready this week.

Rakhudu also said they are in talks with several companies for sponsorship.

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