NFA’s million-dollar bank transactions in spotlight

Huge sums of money withdrawn from the Namibia Football Association (NFA)'s FIFA Trust Account over a period of time has raised questions over the handling of the world football governing body's funds in the country � and how it is used.

Arousing particular concern is how the NFA secretariat staff and technical staff have been permitted to cash out, almost willy-nilly, huge cheques from the FIFA Trust Account at Bank Windhoek, and whether such money was being used for activities approved by the world football governing body.

The fact that huge amounts was cashed over the counter in an era where electronic transfers are deemed not only safe but help trace irregularities, has also left piles of unanswered questions.

The powers that be at Football House have poured cold water over any suspicion raised over the transactions, saying many of the cheque payouts were made to national players who possess no bank accounts of their own.

The football chiefs also said some of the money was used to pay NFA's service providers, although there are claims that some of these companies do not appear on the database of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) as registered entities.

As a general practice, entities doing business with public enterprises such as NFA should be registered and in good standing with both treasury and other bodies such as the Social Security Commission (SSC).

It is also suggested that many of the NFA service providers were handed tenders without the football body placing public notices for qualified bidders to slug it out � fueling talks that some entities have links to NFA employees.

Amongst those who cashed hefty amounts is NFA Technical Director Timo Tjongarero, whose 16 cheques were cashed over the counter for N$692 132.77 between 2015 and 2017. The biggest amount Tjongarero cashed was N$171 550.00. Records seen by New Era Sports do not indicate what the money was used for.

Ghanaian-born Brave Warriors Assistant Team Manager Jakes Amaning cashed 30 cheques equaling N$2.4 million between March 2015 and July 2017.

The largest singular amount paid cashed out by Amaning was N$488 424.90 .

Other big cheques he cashed out were N$267 254.00 and N$198 240.00.

In 2015 alone, payments amounting to N$1, 258, 571, 20 were made to Amaning within a space of just six months.

Records show that Brave Warriors Team Manager Tim Isaacs cashed N$3, 021, 528, 18 between December 2014 and October 2017.

Between June 20 and 30, 2015, Isaacs was issued two cheques of N$252 400 and N$183 000 respectively.

Records show that on June 21, 2016, two cheques were issued on the same day to Isaacs, with the first payment amounting to N$100 000 and the second N$15 000.

As procedure, the NFA secretariat usually submits a detailed budget to FIFA � often with attached quotations from service providers � regarding the association's financial needs and what programmes FIFA should avail funds for.

NFA Secretary-General Barry Rukoro, when contacted for comment, dismissed any suspicion about the transactions � going as far as claiming witch-hunt to discredit efforts of the Secretariat.

Those cheques were made out in the personal names of staff members dealing with special projects within the organisation. Some of them are cash payment to national youth players because these youngsters don't have bank accounts, charges Rukoro.

Though he could not specify the said projects in detail, Rukoro is adamant that the money was not misappropriated as it may sound. Those expenses are reconciled into a file and there is nothing to hide about the transactions.

Pressed on the use of the FIFA Trust Fund and whether this money was strictly used for FIFA-sanctioned activities, Rukoro replied in affirmation.

We have an inter-changeable banking system across all our accounts and FIFA has been made aware of that. What puzzles me is how these accounts were leaked out because it's only an NFA executive resolution can request bank statements, unless a breach of confidentiality has been infringed upon, he said.

On whether the service providers are properly registered and in good standing with government regulatory authorities, Rukoro said: These are security companies that have always met us half way in difficult times � why should we just dump them like hot potatoes?

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia