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Wanderers fans to take stand on Mike Butao saga

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By Peter Kanjere:

UNDER PROBE—Butao

Be Forward Wanderers Supporters Committee is, next week, expected to make its stand known on the suspected K124 million TNM airtime dealership fraud involving general secretary (GS) Mike Butao.

The supporters’ committee chairperson, Mervin Nkunika, Wednesday said he could not comment on the Executive Committee’s position that all was well and that the matter would be resolved internally.

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“At the moment, the focus of the fans is on the derby [between Wanderers and Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday]. If you call me again after the game, I would be able to give you our position on the matter,” Nkunika said.

Before the club carried out internal investigations, the fans demanded the resignation of Butao but, in the statement, Wanderers Chairperson Gift Mkandawire insists the GS is on leave.

Mkandawire says the club wants to understand the report, from internal investigations, which exposes irregular transaction for the deal that was between Wanderers and TNM but the club never received proceeds of airtime re-sell.

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“Noma supporters should be assured that the matter is under full control and that all the processes are in perfect order. We shall be in close contact updating all direct stakeholders namely: supporters, players, exco and trustees. We are working around the clock to ensure that the team is running smoothly. We are currently in the best of form; hence, we shall vehemently safeguard any distraction of our attention by ensuring the boys give us required results,” he says.

Mkandawire insists that “at this point in time, we should consider the matter closed and whatever remains to be done is an internal issue”.

Wanderers is affiliated to Super League of Malawi whose president Tiya Somba-Banda Wednesday said the league was unable to dwell much on the Nomads saga as it has not been furnished a report on the same.

“But we are looking at the positive side of it that when we negotiated the league sponsorship with TNM, they accepted to have our clubs as dealers and benefit from the same. Suffice to say that there is need for the clubs to strengthen control of finances and operations in general so that they should not find themselves in a situation where they are unable to account for some things because they are entrusted in the hands of few individuals,” Somba-Banda said.

Wanderers signed the deal with TNM in 2014 and they have, since that year, paid a total of K110 million to the mobile phone company but earnings from the transaction were never remitted to the team.

Butao was collecting the airtime from TNM at a discount supposedly for re-sale by the club at a profit. Butao denies wrong doing.

“On monthly basis there is always pressure to pay TNM. The general secretary would communicate that the sponsor would be angry if TNM payment is not honoured and this would jeopardise the sponsorship agreement,” the report reads.

However, it transpired that TNM deals directly with sponsor Be Forward Limited in a separate unrelated business agreement and that it does not involve any other third party as Butao seemed to link the airtime dealership to the sponsor.

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