Tuesday, September 28, 2021

“We have failed” – BONA treasurer

“We have failed,” Botswana Netball Association (BONA) treasurer Onicah Letshwenyo-Ramocha uttered as affiliates pressed for answers on the association’s financials.

As these words rolled out of the mouth of the BONA treasurer, a momentary silence engulfed the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The utterance by Letshwenyo-Ramocha, placed not only her but also the entire BONA executive under the microscope.

For that moment, no one would have been surprised had the Malebogo Raditladi led BONA Executive Committee wished the earth could ‘open up and swallow them.’

An external private auditor engaged by the association had failed ‘to express an opinion on the BONA financial statements.’

The BONA financial audit for the 2019, undertaken by bakertilly left the executive on the firing line.

Letshwenyo-Ramocha also did not help the BONA executive course as she told affiliates outright that the committee would have to help answer their questions.

Her approach, while was lauded by some as honest, would have made the BONA executive shudder with many believing she was ‘throwing them under the bus.’

In the 2019 report, bakertilly could not express opinion on the financials because they had ‘not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion.’

The auditor’s basis for not giving an opinion were allegedly based on a failure by the BONA executive to provide necessary documentation.

In the first instance, bakertilly alleges it could not find documentation on an income of P1 216 963. 17 received by BONA.

It said the income could not be supported by adequate documentation and there were no practical procedures to us to confirm the completeness of this income.’

Disconcerting however would have been the auditors’ assertions that they ‘were unable to obtain supporting documentation for expenses amounting to P704 684.14.’

For the 2019 audit report, missing documents include sponsorship documents with Spar, receipt document, supporting documents for players and official allowances, medical aid statements and invoices for operating expenses.

The auditors’ report further details that BONA had a negative petty cash balance ‘which cannot be reinforced by any supporting documentation.’

“The petty cash as per ledger is P-7 024. 17 whilst the petty cash as per confirmation received showed a NIL balance,” the report reads.

In the list of missing documentation, the report lists some of the BONA committee members and officials, immediate past and present as those not having brought forth supporting documentation.

While BONA executive is mulling the bakertilly audit report, early indication is that they will also have more to answer for in the upcoming 2020 audited financials.

Early indications from the audit by Alliant CPA states is said to be already raising some serious questions from affiliates.

Alliant CPA has however stated that it had ‘not audited or reviewed these financial statements accordingly’ and ‘express no assurance thereon.’

The preliminary financial report however seems to show BONA has not been thrifty with the financial resources at its disposal.

It indicates that for the year, the association had an income of P964 254. Of this amount, P762 292.00 was a grant from the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).

Interestingly, despite lack of sporting activities, the association still recorded a P36 026. 00 deficit.

The report indicates that for the year, BONA spent more than P400 000 on travel and a further P101 049 on tournaments.

Of this, P323 379 was allegedly spent on travel expenses overseas, and in particular to the Netball World Cup.

Whereas the travel expenditure is understandable, questions are already arising as to the exact meaning of tournament expenditures.

The last tournament BONA hosted was the Spar Netball tournament in 2018 and it was wholly sponsored by the title sponsors.

This has now raised question as to which tournament the association could have paid for as the association has not hosted tournaments from 2019 to date.

Attempts to get clarity from the BONA president on the association’s financials proved futile as her phone rang unanswered.

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