Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Taylor weighed in the balance and found wanting

If Goabaone Taylor’s ascent to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Secretary General hotseat was murky, her exit may be murkier. On Wednesday, the suspended Taylor was allegedly given a letter ‘to show cause why’ she should not be fired.

Sources say the BFA CEO was spotted entering Lekidi on Wednesday to collect the letter, which she allegedly replied and returned back the following day. According to a source, the CEO asked for more time to reply to the letter.

The letter, purportedly from the BFA leadership, comes at a time when a FIFA delegation is expected to comb through the BFA finances to establish how the association spent grants from the world football controlling body.

Insiders within the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) allege that at the recent meeting, the BFA President informed them that P8.8 million was missing from its coffers. The missing money includes projects monies, Covid-19 Relief fund and women football money, all from FIFA. Others include P500 000 allegedly cashed from the Debswana sponsorship to augment staff salaries in December. From then on, it was common knowledge that Taylor’s days at Lekidi were numbered.

While the source says the BFA has already concluded its investigations, the manner with which the BFA seeks to end her tenure is allegedly raising eyebrows. The source says if there is any truth that millions are missing, that is an act of criminality that needs more than just a summarily dismissal.

“It is very strange that the BFA investigations have already concluded and ready to fire the CEO. You are a reporter don’t you think this is staged. If she has misused the funds she is not alone,” charged the source.

“An act of criminality has happened and the wrongdoers must be brought to book. Public funds cannot disappear just like that and wrongdoers go as if nothing has happened. P8.8 million is missing,” said the source.

Even more surprising, according to the source, is that the dismissal comes well before FIFA can look at the BFA books. “If they fire the CEO and do not renew the contracts of those who will need to be interviewed to ascertain where the monies went, who will answer?” the source asked rhetorically.

The source went on to add that the manner in which the BFA is handling the case looks as if they are trying to make the suspended Taylor a scape goat. “The CEO has been in place for just eight months. If indeed P8.8 million disappeared in that period, that will mean an average P1.1 million disappeared from the BFA purse each month. This is unlikely to be the act of a single person,” the source said.

Given the hastiness with which the BFA seemingly wants to close the case, the source says this may point to the involvement of more people in the misappropriation of monies saga. This is also said to be the view held by others within the Lekidi corridors of power.

The situation is not helped by the fact that the suspended CEO herself is seemingly seeking to understand what the issue is and what she could have done wrong. Sources said the troubled CEO believes she is innocent.

Meanwhile, another BFA NEC insider says given the gravity of the current situation, the BFA leadership does not seem to be keen on conducting an audit. “My belief is that the BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti and his first vice president Pelotshweu Marshlow Motlogelwa must step aside and allow investigations to take place,” he says.

The reasons why there were asked to step down to allow investigations to go on is that as the highest authority and responsible for how the money is used could have detected that money is not used appropriately. “There is doubt that if they are there, they might temper with evidence hence there were asked to step down,” sources said.

“What is surprising is that the BFA leadership seems keen to just swat the issue aside. They want it to be taken off the public domain because they say it will attract unnecessary attention to the BFA from the general public. What they forget is that they are also using public funds,” the source says.

“There are some crooks at the association who are there milking the BFA and they want some of us to look the other side so that they can do as they please. It won’t happen we are going to expose the rot at the BFA,” the source says.

Another BFA NEC member says they were aware of the misappropriation of funds way before the association went into crisis. In fact, it is alleged that two NEC members approached the BFA seeking that he suspends his vice president Mashlow Motlogelwa and call for the auditing of BFA finances.

“The president agreed with the members and promised to suspend his vice president. Surprisingly, after he met with his vice president, he reneged. Instead, he then opted to not renew the contracts of the BFA Finance Manager and the Competitions Manager. Now he has suspended the CEO but the person overseeing the BFA finances is still left untouched,” the NEC member says.

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