TRANSPERANCY International Zambia (TIZ) has called for thorough investigations into allegations that some Football Association of Zambia officials were involved in a scam to reproduce Chipolopolo jerseys in China which they later sold secretly and shared the spoils.
The alleged financial impropriety at Football House was unearthed by the Daily Nation a week ago and has led to the resignation of the whistle-blower FAZ treasurer Kelvin Mutafu.
TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu says the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Auditor General’s office should urgently investigate the matter.
Mr Lungu told the Daily Nation in a press statement that it was important that the issue was thoroughly investigated and should include not only the Nike deal and the replica jerseys saga but the FAZ ticketing system as well as match agent commissions, among others.
“We want to urge former treasurer for FAZ Kelvin Mutafu and all other stakeholders who have information to cooperate with ACC and all relevant bodies so that a good job is done.
‘‘Additionally, we want to urge FAZ to fully cooperate as it is in the interest of the organisation that these allegations are investigated and those that maybe found wanting dealt with accordingly,” he said.
Mr Lungu has also urged Sports deputy minister Ronald Chitotela not to pre-empt the work of the ACC by issuing ‘‘unnecessary’’ statements that seem to defend FAZ.
He said it was shocking that the deputy minister whose ministry spends colossal sums of public money on FAZ was quick to dismiss Mutafu’s allegations even before an investigation was conducted.
“As deputy minister in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, it is in his interest that a full investigation is conducted and if there is no grain of truth in the matter, FAZ will be cleared and the leadership can continue conducting business with full confidence,” Mr Lungu said.
Lungu challenged the permanent secretary of Youth and Sports, as controlling officer, to institute measures to ensure that all public resources that had been extended to FAZ were properly accounted for.
“Similarly, we urge the Auditor General’s Office to take keen interest in these allegations. We want to assure the public that as TI Zambia, we will closely follow this matter and we continue to engage all relevant stakeholders involved in investigating these allegations of impropriety,” he said.
“These allegations come at a time when FIFA, the world football governing body, is itself embroiled in numerous corruption-related allegations,” he said.
Mr Lungu said FAZ was mandated to superintend over a sport which was essentially meant for public benefit, adding that all funds mobilised should be prudently utilised for the benefit of developing football at all levels.