Otniel Hembapu & Carlos Kambaekwa
Windhoek – The N$19 million that government, through the sports ministry, recently gave to the Namibia Football Association (NFA) for the Brave Warriors participation in this month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt, has come under serious scrutiny.
Away from the traditional players and coaches’ appearance fees and winning bonuses slotted in Namibia’s N$19 million Afcon budget, there appears to be a twine of alien figures and huge eccentric allocations inserted into the budget that have triggered questions and serious doubt around the transparency and accountability of the Afcon funds.
From the budget allocations, what has caused the public frenzy are bizarre allotments such as the N$420,000 going to media personnel & others (no specification who the others being referred to are) and plus, historically speaking, the NFA has never made budget provision for media personnel to an extend that it amounts to N$420,000 – which is almost half a million.
Also in NFA’s history, never has the association ever catered for the travelling expenses of officials from the line ministry but this time around, a budget provision of N$450,000 has been made for the flights, accommodation and daily allowances of the ministry’s representatives. An excessive N$180,000 allocated to the video scout has also raised eyebrows.
A N$150,000 in appearance fee that has been allocated to a “sport massage” and also in the same budget, a N$240,000 fee has been set aside for the fitness trainer fee but then another amount of N$900,000 has again been put aside as appearance fee for “fitness trainer and others”, but again it is not indicated who the “others” are and what exactly their functions will be during the Afcon tournament.
The public has since been up in arms questioning the transparency around the entire budget, with many saying the minister entrusted with Namibian sports and his team should come forth and urgently provide clarity on the budget.
Persistent inquiries by New Era Sport yielded little, if any, clarity on the astronomical figures on the budget as chairperson of the NFA Normalisation Committee Hilda Basson-Namundjebo yesterday said she was not in a position to comment on the budget as she felt it was a “sensitive subject” to touch on at this point.
She notified this publication that she and her fellow committee members were due to meet with the line minister Erastus Uutoni and his team to “look into the issue and have a common understanding on the budget” and she will only be able to comment once both parties have met and talked.
The minister was to meet with the Normalisation Committee members late yesterday and at the time of going to print, Basson-Namundjebo had still not returned this publication’s queries on the outcome of the meeting.
On the her part, Executive Director in the sport ministry Emma Kantema-Gaomas – who is the chief accounting officer of the ministry and one who rubberstamped the N$19 million budget for the NFA – crisscrossed questions and was quick to elbow all questions around the Afcon budget to Basson-Namundjebo and her team, saying they will be in a better position to provide a breakdown of all figures and allocations in question.