Two officials of the Malawi Paralympic Committee (MPC) have been barred from participating in the forthcoming International Paralympic Committeeâ€™s (IPC) conference in South Africa.
The bone of contention is MPCâ€™s failure to refund IPC over 4 895 sterling pounds (then about K2.3 million) which the local body spent partly to prepare athletes with the remainder earmarked for air tickets.
IPC is unhappy with the unpaid money which MPC received as a grant for Malawi athletesâ€™ Chisomo German and Janet Shedan aborted participation in 2012 London Paralympics Games in August.
MPC president Juma Mkandawire and executive committee member Glory Maulidi were expected to participate in the November 30 to December 2 2012 conference, MPC vice-general secretary George Luhanga confirmed on Monday.
â€œWith the devaluation of the kwacha, it would be extremely hard for us to remit the money at the current exchange rate. We have between K800 000 to K900 000 (about $2 727) remaining as we used the rest for buying track suits, uniform, shoes, bags and logistics. The K2.3 million (about $6 969) excludes bank charges we are to pay when sending the money. Our last hope is in the First Gentleman [retired Chief Justice Richard Banda] whom we have written for a bailout,â€ said Luhanga.
IPC wants the whole amount, excluding bank charges. MPCâ€™s recent fund-raising show at Robinâ€™s Park in Blantyre only raised K30 000 (about $90), which Luhanga said was only enough to pay for services offered by the police at the hall.
â€œPlease note that NPC Malawi will not be able to participate in this workshop as long as the support grant has not been repaid to Locog [London Organising Committee Olympic Games],â€ reads in part IPC letter signed by a Claire to MPC, which The Nation saw.
The South Africa conference is crucial to the development of paralympics games in southern Africa; hence, Malawiâ€™s non-representation could undermine the future of local athletesâ€™ careers, according to Mkandawire.
â€œThis is a lost opportunity for Malawi to present its case to IPC face-to-face,â€ he said.
The Malawi athletes and their guiders Faith Labana and Chiyembekezo Jamali withdrew on governmentâ€™s directive on grounds that athletes were not assured of care in London; hence, the withdrawal was â€œfor the good image of the government of Malawi, and for the safety of the athletesâ€.
Eventually, when IPC demanded the reimbursement, the same government [Sports Ministry] through its principal secretary Justin Saidi said they had instituted investigations to see if MPC followed planning procedures.
In August, IPC services senior manager Jurgen Padberg wrote that â€œwe request that you immediately return the funds that were transferred only recently after you had repeatedly asked for their travel grant. Any fees associated with the wire transfer will have to be paid by NPC Malawi. Furthermore, the IPC reserves any and all actions against NPC Malawi in future, including financial sanctions and suspension.â€