KAMPALA – The verbal exchange between Sarah Babirye Kityo – the Uganda Netball Federation – UNF boss and Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel – the National Council of Sports – NCS General Secretary seem to be gaining momentum by the day.
The sports officials are engaged in a corruption related scandal – likely to scoop an Oscar award on the final stage.
And it seems the 2003 – SC Villa v Akol FC scandal overpowered Ogwel’s capacities to desist any financial inducements.
Apparently, Kityo armed with fresh allegations – on Monday during a media interface – accused Ogwel of demanding for kickbacks whenever disbursing funds to facilitate the national netball team – The She Cranes for international engagements.
Kityo insisted before media practitioners during the state of the sport address at the UNF head offices located on Aga Khan Building, Old Kampala that the NCS boss had repeatedly demanded for bribes from their federation on several occasions –citing a trip to South Africa in 2021. She claimed that then as the Male’s Netball team travelled for the South African championship – Dr Ogwel demanded for Ugx40m out of Ugx100m in kickbacks.
Kityo emphasised that although the UNF leadership had resolved not to pay the kickback – the federation top officials – including Richard Muhumuza (vice), Amina Mande (GS) and Hajat Aidah Nambuusi defied the order – giving Dr Ogwel Ugx30m – which money had been earmarked as players’ allowances.
Kityo claimed that when she approached Ogwel to query about the Ugx30 kickback – an allegation, which the NCS official denied – threatening to sue for defamation but didn’t.
But Kityo was not done – writing to Ogwel on September 24, 2021, about the same money and there hasn’t been any response todate.
“I hereby write to seek your guidance on the matter above of shillings 30 million that was meant for players’ allowances for the recently concluded Male netball championship in South Africa.
“It has come to my attention that Mr. Muhummuza Richard has not yet paid players’ allowances…..,” reads the letter, in parts.
At the same Monday briefing Kityo accused Ogwel of declining to extend any money towards the netball federation this financial year – on grounds that the managers had not accounted for funds received in the previous financial year. This – she said had cost the team multiple international events, including the World Cup qualifiers.
Kityo revealed that the International Netball Federation – IFNA had fined Uganda GBP5,000 for failure to take part in the World Cup qualifiers.
But while addressing journalists last week, Dr Ogwel said that the UNF had failed to account for the Ugx425, 014,000 – received in the financial year 2021/22 for the Africa Pent series and the African Netball Championship – which had prompted him to withhold additional funding.
In a December 9, 2021 letter, Ogwel told the UNF President about the existence of several queries regarding their accountability – asking her to clarify on the matters raised.
“This is to inform you that the National Council of Sports has concluded the review of your accountability for funds disbursed to your Federation for quarter two FY 2021/2022 of Ugx 425,014,000. As a result of the above exercise, your Federation is requested to provide additional documents and responses to the queries (copy attached) raised by the National Council of Sports for further management,” wrote Ogwel.
Amongst the queries raised in the letter include; the failure by the Netball Federation to acknowledge receipt of Ugx127, 256,220 that the NCS paid for return air tickets for the trip to South Africa. Additionally, the Federation reportedly failed to account for Ugx288, 262,220, which Ogwel said was contrary to section 24 (f) of the Public Finance Management regulations, 2016.
But according to the detailed accountability that UNF submitted – Ugx139,347, 810 was used on accommodation; Ugx13,500,000 went to allowances of the delegation; Ugx8m for members who never travelled; Ugx9,639,000 for Visa application; Ugx5,355,000 as participation fees, Ugx6,747,300 went for Covid -19 tests; and Ugx10m covered kits – and Kityo insisted that her federation received only Ugx186,374,014 – which money was fully accounted for – creating a likely scenario referred to as a virgin goal in a netball game.
But an insider revealed that both parties were only covering up for their traits in public.
“Sarah is a very unreliable woman….she knows exactly what happened for her to take up the leadership of UNF…Who (in netball circles) doesn’t know how Ogwel used underhand methods to make president…,” revealed a source that preferred anonymity – adding: “In Ogwel’s opinion Sarah convinced him on face value that she would be the best replacement for her aunt (Susan Anek) with whom millions would be swindled without any hullabaloo….So the fight now between the two is centred on who throws the other out of their respective office – and whoever has the best connection (in government) would win – because the fact remains both are ‘eating’ netball money.”
It should be recalled further that Ogwel’s integrity marks are not surfacing up with the netball saga because in 2003 – in his capacity as coach/ manager of the defunct Akol FC – defied orders of his boss then – the late Denis Obua. Ogwel is said to have participated, together with the then Secretary of the National Football League Committee – NFLC – Justus Mugisha in presenting a fake team in Akol that lost 1-22 to SC Villa at Mandela National Stadium – Namboole – a situation that brought the sport under disrepute. And it could possibly be the reason why the National Council of Sports’ boss has since failed to settle in mind because 2003 curses seem to be haunting him.