All is not well at Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) where there are growing claims of misappropriation of funds to the extent that law enforcement officers have been called in to investigate. An officer at the association is serving suspension for allegedly forging a signature of BAA’s senior national executive committee member. BAA spokesperson Ronald Masalila confirmed misappropriation of funds and that they have called in the police to help with investigation. “I can confirm that there is suspicion of misuse of funds but the matter is under police investigation so I cannot say much about that,” said Masalila. However a source within BAA revealed that funds misuse at BAA might be deep rooted. According to the source it looks like there have been lax and non-harmonised control measures put in place at BAA to curb misappropriation of funds. “It is strange how things have been done at the association as preliminary investigations have shown that at times people would pay for one thing twice,” revealed the source.
BAA vice president Glody Dube confirmed that indeed the association was on sick bed. Dube confirmed the funds misappropriation allegation. “We have also reported to the mother body BNSC to help on the matter,” said Dube. But claims have emerged that BAA executive committee was divided on how to handle the matter with others having proposed that it be handled internally without involving the police. To try and curb further misappropriation on Thursday the executive committee moved to block any one from withdrawing money from the association’s account. The source revealed that money will be withdrawn only when all executive committee members have signed for the action. In the past only BAA president, vice president and the treasurer could sign for the money.
Athletes’ allowances diverted
It has also emerged this week that some BAA officials from time to time have been trying to divert funds meant for athletes’ allowances for the association’s use. This emerged after some athletes came out complaining that they have not been paid their allowances for the World Youth Championships. The athletes, who demanded not to be named for fear of victimisation, told this publication that they participated in July this year but were not yet paid. Asked about this Dube confirmed that indeed the athletes came complaining about this. He said he was surprised to hear it because to his knowledge the money had been availed for the runners when they left. Dube said the official who travelled with the athletes did not pay the athletes. “When he was asked this week where the money was he said it was at his home,” said Dube, who was at pains to explain why the money was kept at home and not given to the athletes. Dube said the official - whom he could not name – has been asked to write a letter and explain why he did what he did. The athletes reportedly received their allowances on Friday. A source has also alleged that the 2016 Rio Olympics team did not receive their allowances on time. The on-going investigation is expected to unearth a lot of rot and heads are also expected to roll after this.