The prospective Be Forward Wanderers executive committee (ex-co) expected to be ushered in next weekend should brace to inherit a debt in excess of K200 million from its predecessor, it has emerged.
A source confided in The Nation on Monday that apart from the K59 million debt incurred from the Nomads’ participation in the CAF Champions League in 2018, the Nomads also owe their board of trustees chairperson Rashid ‘Rashy’ Gaffar and outgoing chairperson Gift Mkandawire K72 million and K60 million each.
The Lali Lubani Road outfit also owes loan sharks (akatapila) about K8 million, players K6 million in game bonuses and ex-official Alex Makhwatha K4 million.
“There are also several individuals within and outside the set-up that are owed money, but not that much,” said the source.
The source added that some of the creditors are pushing for their dues before the current executive bows out.
In an interview yesterday, Mkandawire confirmed the development and attributed the debt to the club’s huge wage bill.
“I have said it time and again that we have a bloated wage list which is difficult to sustain.
“Our wage list is around 57 and the sponsorship we get [about K150 million per year from Be Forward Limited] is on the lower side,” he said.
Asked on beneficiaries when the club has 27 players and at least 10 technical and administrative staff, Mkandawire said: “We are paying the price for trying to please people. Others that appear on the wage list do not deserve to be there.”
On why he tolerates such a malaise when he is the head of the club, the Nomads chairperson said: “I have been trying my best to curb this malpractice, but the problem is that some of the things were being done behind my back and when I tried to argue, there was too much resistance from some sections… It’s not that easy to run a club like Wanderers.”
He also confirmed that the club owes him and Gaffar “quite a substantial amount”.
Said Mkandawire: “I cannot remember off my head, but indeed the club owes Gaffar and myself over K70 million and K60 million, respectively.
“It is not an issue that I have made a fuss about, but it’s there in the financial records.”
On whether if this is not a conflict of interest, considering that him and Gaffar hold influential positions at the club, the Nomads chairperson said: “There are scenarios that occur unexpectedly and need urgent financial attention and you have no other option, but to intervene.”
Mkandawire said if the situation is to improve, the forthcoming annual general meeting should review the club’s operational system other than just concentrating on imminent elections.
The club’s former chairperson Humphrey Mvula said the situation mirrors a number of glaring shortcomings at the club.
He said: “There is need for a forensic audit at the club to clearly ascertain the expenditure. The outgoing executive should produce audited accounts.
“Revelations about the team having undeserving beneficiaries on the wage list is also unfortunate to say the least. It shows that the executive was probably not in control.
“Another serious issue is a scenario whereby you have influential officials lending money to the team.”
Mvula suggested that the Nomads should have put the elections on hold and sort out the challenges facing the club.