Voice of Sport

Malinzi’s TFF and Mwendwa’s FKF dogged by issues stifling growth of East African football

Poor football performers Tanzania and Kenya seem joined at the hip in scandals and wretched mismanagement


TANZANIA Football Federation head Jamal Malinzi is in deep trouble. His organisation owed tax revenue services approximately Sh74 million [$732,000] and its bank accounts were been frozen by the Tanzania government last December. They could not carry out simple tasks like even having an annual general meeting.

Malinzi is an unfortunate man. The no-nonsense Tanzania President Joseph Pombe Magufuli was elected in October and swung into office catching, punishing and putting out of action public sector thieves, fraudsters, the corrupt and tax evaders.

Deductions

The sins committed by TFF happened before Malinzi came into office in October 2013 but they are now haunting him. Between 2009 and 2013, TFF employed and paid, with the help of the Government, three foreign coaches of their national teams — Jan Poulsen, Kim Poulsen and Jacob Michelsen. But TFF, for all that period, did not submit to Tanzania Revenue Authority, PAYE [Pay As You Earn] taxes deducted from the coaches’ salaries…

Worse, in June 2010, TFF staged a high profile international friendly match in Dar es Salaam between the country’s  national team, Taifa Stars and the then world champions Brazil (Brazil won 5-1). From the gate takings, TFF did not remit VAT [Value Added Tax] to the authorities.

Auditors

Magufuli times have come firmly clomping down on TFF. The authorities were first be zeroing in a period that Malinzi was not in office but his time — 2013 onwards — has also to come for an auditor’s visit. The TRA is now also demanding TFF staff PAYE remittance during Malinzi’s period and VAT from varous earnings including sponsorship stadium gate takings.

A few days ago, the taxman clumped down by confiscating five vehicles, including a bus belonging to TFF. Malinzi said he feared that TFF property including buildings and the astro-turf Karume Stadium in Ilala may go under the auctioneers hammer.

Malinzi’s plight might resemble that of newly ushered in Football Kenya Federation [FKF] chief Nicholas Mwendwa. He has not publicly published the paperwork but Mwendwa’s administration says that the previous FKF regime left a Sh170m debt in the books.

Debts

Malinzi does not know how to come out of the quandary while an impatient populace in Tanzania is telling him to pay up in order to remove the shame from the country’s football. Some, in Kiswahili are telling him: “Mheshimiwa Rais wa TFF, lipieni hayo madeni, vinginevyo. Mtakuwa majipu na nyie!” (Please, President of TFF, pay up these debts from whatever means. You are [in danger] of being eyesore!”

But a victimized and at pains Malinzi is retorting like he should not be compelled to pay a debt incurred by others, shooting back to one of tormenters: Unaujua undani wa hayo madeni?” (Do you know the inside story of those debts?”

New coach

Elsewhere Malinzi’s TFF are being vilified as being involved in TRA tax evasion, match fixing scandals and also not paying the current national coach, ex-Tanzania’s Taifa Stars international Boniface Mkwasa. They are taunting TFF: “Mkwasa has been patient; eight months without a salary, I should have set TFF offices on fire!” said one.

In December last year TFF could not host a general assembly following the decision of Ilala District regional TRA office to freeze the federation’s bank accounts. The general assembly could only take place last week, albeit under financial constraints. Apparently TRA eventually unfroze the TFF accounts but only having transferred all that was in the coffers to the part-payment of tax debts.

Eliminated

Tanzania and Kenya are apparent brothers-in-arms in matters of football management. Present highlight is the imminent elimination of their national teams in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Their situation is doomed; Kenya having already been eliminated from Group “E” after embarrassing away and home defeats by minnows Guinea Bissau in a pool consisting favourites Zambia and Congo Brazzaville and Tanzania, with only one point from a 0-0 home draw with Nigeria virtually hopeless in a group led by Egypt (with seven points) and involving an already eliminated Nigeria. Chad withdrew.

It is also East African brotherhood as far as scandals go. The current FKF office would have much knowledge of the dishonest schemes carried out under the last regime; after all, initially Mwendwa played key roles as a faithful acolyte, and his current FKF deputy, Doris Petra, was one of the most powerful figures in the gone administration.

Passports

Petra once collected passports from the national women’s team for a purported trip to Tanzania. The girls never went. Each passport returned with an entry into and exit from Tanzania after a purpoted one-week stay there. The scam is said to have cost the Kenya Government Sh4 million; for a tour that never was. Petra is claiming innocence from wrong-doing.

Mwendwa’s office has not conducted a probe into the affair, the whiff of such which has become the undoing of many football leaders round the world who have received bans from FIFA for fraud and lack of integrity.

– First published in East African Standard

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