By Darious Kapembwa
BY now we all know that FAZ president Andrew Kamanga has been reported to Woodlands Police Station for criminal activities involving US$38,000 by suspended FAZ executive committee member Elijah ‘Shenko’ Chileshe.
According to Shenko, Kamanga abused his office, did not declare interest and abused funds when he rendered financial assistance to the cash-strapped association.
Since I started working on this matter after Shenko raised it, myself and other objective analysts have struggled to understand how Kamanga abused office, or took pecuniary advantage or indeed abused funds in this matter as alleged by Shenko.
This was a request of then general secretary Ponga Liwewe who was running the FAZ secretariat at the time.
Or to put it another way: this was an SOS from Liwewe to Kamanga because the kit supplier for the FAZ division two and three teams for 2017, like any other business, had a deadline to meet.
A look into this matter reveals communication among FAZ councillors showing that Kamanga did not initiate this transaction. It was originated by Ponga to Kamanga who later asked for the councillors’ opinions and all gave their consent.
For the avoidance of doubt, here is how this matter unfolded, starting with Liwewe’s letter dated March 23, 2017.
Ponga: “As discussed in the ECM, the association will disburse kit to clubs in the leagues listed above. The order of 250 kits is ready and payment is awaited by the supplier. The association is currently unable to meet the kit obligation due to high costs in meeting obligations of the MOC. To meet the deadline, I have requested the President to assist the association by guaranteeing the purchase of the kit and he has agreed to do so. The amount will be reimbursed as soon as the association receives further payments due next week.”
Andrew Kamanga: “VP Let me have your views. I’m told the payment is required this morning otherwise the booking will be cancelled. I have no issue giving the advance.”
Brenda Kunda: “I have no objection on the matter. This will help us to build the lost confidence in the councillors. Councillors should know we mean well and that we’re able to deliver as an executive. Lately we have not done so thus we need to make up.”
Lee Kawanu: “No objection from me. Thank you President.”
Dr Joseph Mulenga: “Noted and no objections.”
Shenko: “Am of the view that we wait for the money of the association to come next wk and then pay for kit. Gs note that faz is a public institution and the amount involved is just too much to put a burden on the president alone.”
Well, money was released and from the receipts I have seen in the custody of the investigative agencies, former FAZ accountant Sam Phiri and Liwewe signed the receipts on which he collected the monies from Kamanga’s company and equally payment receipts to the supplier as well as kit delivery notes to Football House, all dated and stamped.
Despite Liwewe indicating that the money was to be paid back to Kamanga the following week, paperwork showed that the money was only reimbursed to Kamanga’s company after two months, meaning that if councillors had gone with Shenko’s suggestion that they wait until money was available in a week’s time, the kits would not have been supplied or could have been delayed further that year and I am sure the headlines could have changed to “Kamanga’s FAZ fails to distribute kit as promised” right?
It is also important to note that the US$38,000 was paid back to Kamanga without interest. In other words, Kamanga “abused” his own funds by depriving himself as well as his workers’ interest on their hard-earned resources. Kaya
Here is Liwewe’s explanation afterwards: “I was General Secretary at the time. $38,000 was borrowed and $38,000 was refunded. On another occasion, for the national team to travel to the 2018 CHAN tournament, when Ministry of Sport were unable to release funds on time, Mr Kamanga, at the request of the ministry and to avoid Zambia failing to play the first match, also came to the rescue of the ministry, meeting the travel costs and later being refunded…in times of emergency, decisions have to be made.”
Dear leaders, it’s important to note that in 2016, FAZ, with the consent of councillors, did borrow US$11,065 to facilitate the Zambia Under-17’s trip to Mauritius.
Interestingly, then sports minister Moses Mawere, sober and reasonable as he was, had been following these events and in 2018, he realised the senior national team would miss the opening game at the CHAN in Morocco because the treasury was delaying to release funds to the team and asked Kamanga for assistance of US$25,000 for air tickets and travel arrangements that was later paid back.
In fact, Kamanga made money for FAZ from the last transaction, in that he facilitated for the team’s trip to Morocco, US$25,000 without interest, but the team reached the quarter finals and pocketed US$300,000.
Clearly, this is persecution of the highest order.
It’s time for those in authority to stop embarrassing themselves in petty football politics, accept reality and move on. Football has rules both on and off the field of play…ala!
I endorse this write-up as mine. Not because I worked with Darious in the same newsroom both at The Post newspaper and later at The Mast newspaper before I left the media sector but because it is true, objective and factual and would have said the same.
By the way, nothing much has happened at ConCourt for me to make a meaningful update from last time. On July 10th I will write a full update on the court case.
Otherwise we remain in the same scenario. Kamanga remains president. FIFA approves the mandate he is given by the FAZ statutes in the Transitory Provisions in Article 5 of the FAZ Constitution of 2017 as amended in 2019. Elections can’t go ahead with COVID-19. Life goes on.