After failing to travel to London 2012 Paralympic Games which started on Thursday, the Malawi Para Olympics Committee (MPC) now has to find a way of reimbursing K2.3 million (about $9 200) to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
IPC on Thursday demanded the repayment of the equivalent of 489 428 pounds, which The Para Olympics Local Organising Committee sent on August 22 to MPC as a grant for air tickets for athletes Chisomo German, Janet Shedan and their guiders Faith Labana and Chiyembekezo Jamali.
“This late withdrawal by NPC [National Paralympics Committee] Malawi is completely unacceptable to the International Paralympic Committee. After all the support that was extended to you, it was your duty and due diligence to liaise with the government in good time to secure their approval of participation in the London 2012 Paralympic Games,” IPC services senior manager Jurgen Padberg wrote to MPC on Tuesday.
Government through Sports Councilâ€™s development officer Ruth Mzengo wrote MPC on Monday not to proceed with the trip to London “for the good image of the Government of Malawi, and for the safety of the athletes.”
MPC vice-general secretary George Douglas Luhanga relayed the same message to IPC that the Malawi team would not travel because they had failed to top up the additional K3.5 million (about $14 000) which was supposed to be sourced locally.
“We 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 the future, including financial sanctions and suspension.”
The challenge for MPC is that the K2.3 million came to Malawi reduced to K2.1 million in bank charges, yet IPC wants the whole amount returned. Luhanga, in the company of MPC president Juma Mkandawire, on Thursday once again pleaded to the corporate sector to bail them out on the shortfall needed to reimburse IPC.
“The hardest thing was how to break the sad news to the athletes. I was equally devastated. I had to wait for the president to do it. The body language of the athletes, I am told, said it all about their disappointment,” said Luhanga.
MPC knew some three years ago about the games, but only started making efforts to source the K3.5 million shortfall last November, according to the committeesâ€™ vice-general secretary.
“This was the first time we were to participate in the games and we started making the efforts in November when we were elected into office. We are not quite sure if they had started preparing for the event,” said Luhanga.