A Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) internal audit has unearthed financial irregularities in the management of national netball team’s government funding with the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) failing to account for K30 million.
The council’s board chairperson Oliver Nakoma confirmed this in an interview with Weekend Nation warning that the association faces funding freeze or its executive committee could be ousted if they do not provide evidence of their spending.
According to him, the query involves last year’s Netball World Cup funding for the Queens in England and the 2018 Fast5 Netball World Series held in Australia.
After the audit discovered the irregularities, Nakoma said the council gave NAM a chance to bring forth documentation to support its claim that the money was spent appropriately.
“As a board we wrote NAM, informing them that they should account for the money. We gave them two weeks last month to tender supporting documents,” he said.
Nakoma said NAM has since submitted new documents and a new round of audit will be sanctioned to authenticate the documentation.
“If the audit finds them with issues, then we will not hesitate to stop funding NAM. That will not be all, its leadership will be forced out,” he said.
Alternatively, the council’s board chairperson said the NAM officials responsible for the alleged misappropriation of the funds will be forced to refund the money.
“This is government money so we shouldn’t just be letting sports officials abuse it and go scot-free,” he said.
According to sources, NAM president Khungekile Matiya, general secretary Carol Bapu and treasurer Jane Kachali-Saidi were given tasks to oversee procurement of goods and services related to the national teams’ competition.
The source said the chunk of the funds under query, were K11 million transactions carried out by the treasurer, about K4 million by Bapu and K7 million by Matiya.
Bapu, on her part confirmed the matter, claiming that her transaction was related to processing of visas for the Fast5 Series.
“The visas cost us K3.6 million and I paid that online. I have secured supporting documents related to that transaction. So, I believe a fresh audit will clear us on that,” she said.
A source, also pointed out that during the Netball World Cup, NAM spent over K2 million on visas for people that did not travel to the competition.
Bapu acknowledged this but could not give more details: “We also have receipts regarding those documents but the council’s argument is why we paid for those visas?” she said.
In an earlier interview, Matiya said they were doing reconciliations before presenting a report to the council regarding the expenditure.
“I can confirm there was an audit query and we are expected to submit a report to the council soon,” she said in an interview two weeks ago as we gathered information regarding the issue.
NAM treasurer Kachali-Saidi when contacted yesterday said she was not “aware of the council’s audit query”.
But MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka said though the audit report raised issues, it is too early to condemn NAM as having misappropriated funds.
He said: “I think we should wait until the second audit is carried out before we start to cast stones at NAM officials. I think, like the board chairperson has said, let us give them a chance to support their expenditure.”
The financial mess at NAM comes at a time Sports Council is at loggerheads with Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) over unaccounted for K50 million foreign grants.
The council has since warned that the AAM executive committee will be dissolved if it fails to account for the money.