By Augustine Mukoka
FIFA $1.5 MILLION GRANT PLUNDER: FAZ Awarded K6 Million Projects To Ghost Companies
At least four companies awarded contracts to refurbish stadiums and the FAZ Accommodation Center are not legal entities registered by both the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) and the National Construction Council (NCC) in Zambia, an independent search at both institutions has revealed.
Last week, information emerged that FAZ had embezzled part of the K1.5 million grant issued by FIFA having allocated it to five projects in Chipata, Kasama, Lusaka, Solwezi and Mansa.
According to available data, FAZ allocated the refurbishment of four stadiums and the technical center $300, 000 (about K6 Million) each but works at the facilities does not show that 10% of it had been done.
However, records at FAZ indicate that all the projects have reached between 50% to 80% completion rate and had been paid with the refurbishment of David Kaunda stadium in Chipata the only facility to have received nearly the total payment.
A report compiled by a FAZ Ad-hoc that recently toured all the five sites revealed that the projects were far from over with recommendation that the procurement process and contracts awarded be reviewed.
An on-the-spot check to all the five facilities has also revealed that the projects are a disappointing tale with contractors nowhere in sight as they have abandoned their assignments.
FAZ published a statement claiming the projects were underway while admitting that there was some delay in meeting the targets.
Acting general secretary Iva Lengwe also published images of billboards of those companies said to have been awarded contracts for the construction projects.
They included Portend Construction, Royal King, MP Consulting, GNM Construction and Artificial Grass Africa. A billboard at the Accommodation Center in Lusaka shows that N23 Limited was the company responsible for the project.
Sources have however disclosed that the contract for the Accommodation Center was awarded to one of FAZ president Andrew Kamanga’s “serial” praise singer, a losing UPND parliamentary candidate for a seat in Ndola rural.
FAZ deputy general secretary Joseph Chimpampwe was the focal point in managing the FIFA grant and is alleged to have headed the committee in charge of procurement, authorization of payments and the awarding of contracts.
Chimpampwe has been contacted for a comment but at the time of publication of this article had yet to respond to a press query sent to his WhatsApp mobile number.
A paid search at PACRA has since revealed that only Royal King, the contractor refurbishing David Kaunda stadium in Chipata, is registered with PACRA while the rest do not appear anywhere as legal entities.
FAZ president Kamanga said in his weekly column on Monday that, “as with every FIFA funded project, we are keeping tabs on the four stadia under rehabilitation to ensure that the people in charge of the actual implementation stick to the terms of reference. Internally, we have a committee that is overseeing these projects who provide updates to relevant stakeholders. We look forward to the completion of these projects that have fallen behind schedule but remain on course.”
Kamanga did not mention the fifth project awarded to one of his lead “praise-singers” which has also been abandoned.
FIFA Forward core principles require that the investment in football development is transparent, carefully managed and effective.
The world soccer mother body is giving member associations upto $6 Million over four years depending on needs. Part of the funds are meant for projects tailored to member association’s approved contract of agreed objectives, and in particular relating to football infrastructure (e.g. pitches, technical centres, training grounds, stadiums and headquarters).
According to the Reporting and Auditing Guidelines, any projection above $300, 000 is monitored by FIFA’s Development Committee but those in Zambia fail within the ambit of FAZ oversight only subject to periodic FIFA (mostly annual) audits.