Gate revenue fraud reared its ugly face again at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe on Sunday where a man dressed police uniform was caught selling Silver Strikers and Be Forward Wanderers TNM Super League match tickets.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) says the tickets, worth K150 000, were reportedly stolen from one of the cashiers.
Lingadzi Police Station officers, who were at the stadium, did not arrest the alleged officer, but one Benson Mofolo from Ntchema Village Traditional Authority (T/A) Ntchema, Chiradzulu, who was also caught with 38 tickets.
Mofolo has since been released without being charged.
Ironically, Fellowship Association of Malawi, owned by Japhet Majekete, and Capital Collectors co-owned by Chiyambiko Lita—firms Sulom outsourced for the gate management services—have said they cannot identify the cashier who lost the tickets because they did not keep an inventory.
The development has angered the two clubs—Wanderers and Silver—who were playing in the last match of the first-round, which fetched K18 million.
They accused Sulom and police of shielding the suspects.
Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda said they handed over 23 600 tickets to the two service providers, but after hearing that some individuals were selling the tickets, it was discovered that one booklet was missing.
“It is difficult to trace which cashier was responsible for the lost booklet because when the outsourcing companies handed over the tickets to their cashiers, it seems they did not take note of the serial numbers which each cashier took,” he said.
One of Capital Collectors’ directors, Madalitso Phiri (not the Capital FM journalist) admitted not recording the serial numbers.
“We only counted the quantity of the tickets as what mostly matters is the amount of cash we are expected to collect. We have learned from this mistake,” he said.
Meanwhile, Silver and Wanderers fear the case will die a natural death just like similar previous gate fraud cases.
The two clubs yesterday announced they had joined the case.
“Be informed that Wanderers and Silver Strikers are joining the Bingu National Stadium ticket fraud case. As clubs, we can no longer bury our heads in the sand while millions are being siphoned out. When we do not become part of the cases, they die natural deaths,” Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao said.
Lingadzi Police Station spokesperson Foster Benjamin said they are still investigating the incident.
He said: “Investigations are still underway to apprehend other suspects including the one that was said to be in a police uniform. We are waiting for Sulom to furnish us with information on who was presented with the tickets found with suspects.”