Government has rebuffed Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers’ demand to return the K1.1 million (about $2 750) it got as ground levy from Sunday’s IntoSports Giants Peace Cup match at Kamuzu Stadium.
A member of the tournament’s organising committee Stevie Madeira said this follows preliminary investigations which indicate that government officials who were assigned as supervisors might have been involved in the suspected looting of gate collections.
“To that effect, we spoke to the stadium manager Charles Mhango and asked him to surrender the money to police and we are expecting that the law enforcers will collect it for safe keeping until the issue is investigated to its conclusion.
“Let me also make it very clear that is not like we are snatching the money from government, but we want the investigation process to be carried out first,” said Madeira who is also a Nomads executive committee member.
But Mhango yesterday insisted that there was no way they would surrender the money.
“This is government money, the match was played and regardless of what happened, ground levy has to be paid; otherwise, it would be a crime to withhold government money,” said Mhango.
He also said the two teams lost the plot when they hired an outsourcing firm that is not credible.
“All this happened because they did not involve us for our input at the very beginning. They allowed us to get the levy and now they are saying we should return it? It would seem they are confused,” said Mhango.
However, Madeira later on said they sought the intervention of the police who advised them to write a letter to the stadium manager to surrender the money.
“We are doing all this in order to find the root cause of the problem. We want government to step in and find out why teams are able to make more money elsewhere, in particular Lilongwe and not at Kamuzu Stadium,” he said.
Sunday’s derby grossed K4.7 million (about $11 750) to the dissatisfaction of both teams who felt the money did not reflect the turnout, a development that led to the two teams conducting a random search and two people were arrested after being allegedly found with slightly over K60 000 (about $150) suspected to have been stolen from gate collections.
The two, civil servant Henry Kintu, 44, from Nkolokosa Township and Patrick Lexon, 18, from Chilobwe Township in Blantyre, are in police custody pending further investigations.