Government was yesterday caught in a tight spot after K5 million which Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) paid as deposit for its crossover event at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe grew wings.
Ministry of Youth and Sports under which the facility falls, confirmed yesterday that it was investigating the matter.
The crossover night service was scheduled for New Year Eve, but the ministry cancelled the booking, saying the event would leave them with little time to undergo renovations ahead of Confederation of African Football (CAF) inspection to determine whether it would be fit to host international matches.
Our investigations have revealed that ECG issued a 50 percent down payment of K5 million in cash to BNS, but from that only K800 000 was deposited into government’s Account Number One.
According to documents that we have seen, ECG paid the deposit on December 1 and were issued with a receipt number 6666233.
One document further claims that ECG paid an additional K1 million a few days later.
Upon cancellation of the booking, ECG wrote the stadium’s management on December 14 requesting for a refund by attaching a bank deposit slip as proof of payment.
The ministry’s Principal Secretary Oliver Kumbambe instructed the stadium management to write the Treasury to process the refund.
However, the stadium manager Ambilike Mwaungulu could not process the refund from Treasury as there was no GR and proof of payment which Treasury demanded to make a refund.
Part of an internal memo updating the PS on the issue, which we have seen, reads: “The accounts officer, [name withheld] received payment of K5 million from the church on 1st December, 2020, and a copy of the general receipt number 6666233 is attached for your reference.
“An extra K1 million was received from the church. However, there is no GR for this payment. The accounts officer to the stadium manager that out of the K5 million, he only banked K800 000.”
According to a well-placed source, the accounts officer was given up to yesterday noon to refund the money and he could not be reached yesterday. But Mwaungulu referred Weekend Nation to the ministry’s spokesperson Simon Mbvundula who said: “All I can say is that we are working on the alleged transaction to determine whether the funds were indeed deposited or not and thereafter, an appropriate action will be taken.
“Treasury demands evidence of deposit. So, we are investigating the issue. However, we have been told that there could be other developments later today [yesterday].”
ECG spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo yesterday said they wrote the stadium’s management on Tuesday.
“They told us the refund would be ready by today [yesterday] and we are hopeful that they will reimburse by close of business today [yesterday].
“The cancellation took a big financial toll on us, as besides the payment, we have already spent millions on advertising and several other expenditures,” he said.