WINDHEOK – The Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) is an organisation in serious disarray – boasting an empty bank account, salary of employee not paid, office lacks basic equipment and no one has been held accountable for the mess. As it currently stands, the only employee employed fulltime to run the daily affairs of the NPBWCB office is yet to receive her August salary as the organisation’s bank account is boasting zero. NPBWCB, which is housed at the offices of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Services, currently has a non-functioning office due to a lack of basic equipment such as a functioning copy machine and other vital stationeries. NPBWCB’s leased copy machine was recently repossessed due to non-payment. Board members of NPBWCB, whose three-year term of office officially came to an end yesterday, have been at each other’s throats in recent weeks and one of the board members Phillip Mwandingi wrote to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and to the executive director of the line ministry to disclose what he termed as fraudulent activities happening at embattled boxing board.
In a two-page letter to both parties, a dismayed Mwandingi accused fellow board members of siphoning large sums of money from the NPBWCB’s account without consent from other board members and that many a time no comprehensive financial reports are submitted to justify such withdrawals. Mwandingi, who also confirmed to this publication that he indeed tipped off the ACC and line ministry about the unwarranted spending spree, the usage of sanctioning fees meant for the office and employee salaries, said he could no longer sit idle and watch the NPBWCB go down the drain without anyone being held accountable. He specifically singled out the board chairperson Ellison Hijarunguru for running the organization with an iron fist by victimising and sidelining any board member who dares to disagree with him when it comes to the usage of finances, especially sanctioning fees which are normally paid in huge amounts. Mwandingi, a labour commissioner by profession, in his lengthy letter outlined a number of occasions where large sums of money was withdrawn without his consent as one of the signatories to NPBWCB bank account and vanished into thin air and when he demanded a report for the funds, none was ever provided. Queried on why the organisation’s employee has not yet received her August salary and as to what happened to the money intended to furnish the lease agreement for the copy machine, Mwandingi said the copy machine was repossessed because money given by the ministry, which is believed to be about N$70 000, to pay for the lease agreement was illegally used and the machine ended up being repossessed. As for the unpaid salary, Mwandingi said NPBWCB bank account is currently empty and was not sure how the outstanding salary will be paid. “The latest amount to go missing is an N$84 000, which is still unaccounted for to this day. There is also another N$25 000 which is also unaccounted for and when I asked about these money, there is no report. Most of these amounts were withdrawn on occasions when I was on leave. I think he (Hijarunguru) and those that were with him withdrew the money with the assistance of another board member Ronald Kurtz. Hijarunguru even borrowed N$10 000 from the board and he is still yet to pay back that money. I have all the proof to back up what I’m saying and I also have the bank statements to prove to all authorities how the money was mismanaged,” said Mwandingi.
Contacted for comment, both Hijarunguru and Kurtz rubbished Mwandingi’s claims, saying the accusations were unfounded and devoid of any truth. Both gentlemen indicated that the matter was now before the ACC and could not comment in details, as they would jeopardise the ongoing investigations.
On his part, Hijarunguru said the N$10 000 that Mwandingi claims be borrowed is not true and his lawyers will thoroughly deal with Mwandingi for tarnishing his reputation, while Kurtz maintained that there was nothing unlawful nor sinister about him signing off money for operational purposes as he too has such rights when other signatories are unavailable to sign. Kurtz added that Hijarunguru does not have signing powers and can thus not withdraw NPBWCB money at will as presumed by Mwandingi.
The NPBWCB is no stranger to mismanagement of funds and being run like a fiefdom as opposed to being administered like any other public sport office. For the past years, despite the media extensively reporting on the ailing fortunes of the boxing board, there has been zero action from the line ministry.
2019-09-06 10:00:00 9 days ago