The Southern Region Football Referees Association (SRFRA) has launched a manhunt for its treasurer Ishmael Chizinga, accusing him of misappropriating K1.3 million officiation fees.
SRFRC chairperson Emmanuel Mlauzi and National Football Referees Association (NFRA) general secretary Chris Kalichero confirmed the issue yesterday.
Kalichelo said Mlauzi was given the money on December 31 to pay SRFRA members part of their officiation fees, but has not done that up to now.
He said: “So, when the SRFRA chairperson [Mlauzi] phoned me on January 5 that the payment had not been effected, I advised him to confront Chizinga.
“When Mlauzi went to Chizinga’s shop in the company of our treasurer Kelvin Ngulanga the following day [January 6] to demand the money, he [Chizinga] told them that he had used it for personal things with the hope of refunding the money in due course.
“So, they gave him a cutoff point of January 7 to refund the money or face unspecified action to which he agreed, but when they followed up with him yesterday, they could not get hold of him.”
Kalichelo said they have since advised SRFRA to take up the matter with the police.
On his part, Mlauzi confirmed having given Chizinga a January 7 deadline to return the money.
“But despite his assurance that he would raise the money and return it on the agreed date, he did not revert to us as agreed.
“So, we tried to get hold of him through phone and we even sent a team to his shop in Limbe, but it was closed. For today [yesterday], we are giving him the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he is trying to raise the money, failing which we will explore other avenues,” he said.
Chizinga was not available for comment yesterday.
He is one of the elite local centre referees who has a Fifa badge and is among the 14 referees that have been retained by the world football governing body.