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Fam says Anti-Corruption Bureau should not interfere

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has faulted the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for stopping regional football association polls in November last year, saying the graft-busting body should not interfere in association football matters.

ACB stopped the polls in November last year after bribery and corruption allegation reports surrounding the nomination process.

After conducting investigations, ACB made several recommendations to Fam including asking that regional football bodies conduct a fresh nomination process for the elections.

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In a letter to the country’s football governing body, ACB noted that there were fraudulent activities in the nomination process leading to last year’s elections, with some signatures being forged.

However, Fam has written back to ACB, stating that organisations that are association in nature and not constituted by an Act of Parliament should be governed by internal rules.

“All association football-related matters in Malawi are in the purview of the Football Association of Malawi and its affiliates. That ACB was able to proceed to halt elections for regional football elections is an anomaly that should not have happened. Fam is of the view that ACB does not have jurisdiction over football matters apart from investigating whether there are corrupt practices and bringing to book through the court of law those who have breached the Corrupt Practices Act.

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“This is also the case for similar organisations. For instance, churches, clubs, associations and professional bodies. ACB does not have jurisdiction to interrogate how these organisations conduct their elections, let alone issue directives on any day-to-day business. The same principle applies to Fam as an association and all its affiliates,” reads Fam’s letter signed by General Secretary, Alfred Gunda.

However, a prominent lawyer Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda told Sunday’s edition of The Sunday Times that Fam had misdirected itself on ACB’s powers.

“ACB has powers to prevent corruption in both private and public institutions. It was within the ACB statutory mandate to issue a restriction notice and to issue the directive on the manner in which the nomination process and the elections should be conducted. As a matter of fact, Section 26 of the Corrupt Practices Act deals with corruption by or with private bodies.

“If the argument is that Fam is a private body, Section 26 of the Act covers it. Fam’s argument, if sustained, would create a very absurd result. It would mean that Fam and its officials would engage in corruption without being checked. But we know Blatter was indicted with corruption and bribery by government law enforcement institutions. That didn’t amount to government interference in football matters. Moreover, Fam draws money from the Consolidated Fund. It would be absurd to insist that the government should not be involved in how Fam manages its affairs,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.

Fam has also faulted ACB for failing to provide details, supporting evidence and particulars of the alleged forgery or malpractices in respect to the nomination process.

ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala declined to comment on the matter, saying she was not sure if Fam had officially delivered the letter.

During an emergency virtual meeting last week, Fam executive committee members agreed to order the regional football associations to hold elections within 21 days.

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