- Ex-official commits to refund BB K3.5m
- SA club asked to write commitment letter
In twists and turns of sheer comedy, a former Nyasa Big Bullets FC official (name withheld) has agreed to refund R70 000 (about K3.5 million) which he received as part payment of striker Muhammad Sulumba’s transfer fee from South African club Polokwane City.
The lanky forward signed a 30-month contract with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) side in July this year, but could not be cleared as of Wednesday, August 31 which was the deadline for transfers, because according to Bullets, the South African team failed to send a commitment letter to pay the R170 000 (about K8.5 million) balance within seven days.
The club’s chairperson Noel Lipipa and finance committee head Fleetwood Haiya yesterday confirmed that the said former official made the commitment in writing on Wednesday (August 31).
Said Haiya: “We had a meeting with the gentleman and he agreed having received part of the transfer fee and
he made a commitment to refund the money in four instalments.
“However, out of respect, we are not going to mention names. The most important thing is that he accepted having
received the money and that he is willing to refund.
“He was paid the money in July in South Africa by the chairperson of Polokwane City [Johnny Mogaladi],” he said.
On his part, Lipipa said the commitment letter was also co-signed by Haiya as a representative of the club and a witness.
“What we need to agree on is the period of payment.”
However, Lipipa said the part payment was not declared to the club.
“During an executive committee meeting that we had recently, our vicechairperson [Hassam Jussab] phoned this particular gentleman to find out the terms of the transfer deal and his response was that the total agreed fee was R200 000.
“But it was during my telephone conversation with Mogaladi that I learnt that the actual transfer fee was R240 000 and that a part-payment of R70 000 had already been made,” he said.
Commenting on the state of Sulumba’s deal, Haiya said: “In as far as we are concerned, we are ready to clear Sulumba, but all we need from Polokwane is a commitment letter that they will pay the transfer fee balance (R170 000) within seven days.
“Actually on Wednesday, we tried to persuade them to send the commitment letter in the company of Football Association of Malawi [FAM] transfer matching systems [TMS] manager Casper Jangale a n d [ competitions manager] Gomezgani Zakazaka, but they were not cooperative until the deadline time which was midnight on that day.
“However, this is an on-going process and we believe that if they [Polokwane] can send us the commitment letter, then the clearance can still be processed. If it can’t be done now, then even during the next transfer window in December.”
But speaking in a telephone interview on Thursday, Mogaladi said: “I am now confused because of what happened, it’s like I cannot trust anyone now, not even you. In fact, you do not have to ask me about the way forward, ask Bullets. I already made part payment [to the gentleman]. He messed it up and he is no longer picking my calls.”
The Weekend Nation also established that in the afternoon of Wednesday, there was an attempt by three former Bullets officials to push for the player ’s international clearance at FAM.
Jangale confirmed that he was approached by the officials whom he told that the transaction is done upon getting a request from a club that wants to buy a player through its association.
“I also told them that as an association we only deal with current officials and not former officials,” he said.
Sulumba could not be reached for comment. According to the copy of the transfer agreement between the two clubs signed on July 19 2016 by the then Bullets chairperson Samuel Chilunga and Mogaladi which Weekend Nation has seen, the South African team was supposed to pay Bullets R240 000 in full within seven days of signing the agreement, which meant the transfer fee was supposed to have been paid by July 26.
This is the third time that Sulumba’s prospects of a foreign deal have fallen through. Last year, the sky fell on him when another South African team cancelled his three-year deal due to what it described as foreign quota complications.
He was also tipped to undergo trials at a Second Division Danish League side which also fell through.