NSC chairman levies fresh allegations against GFF

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Chairman of the National Sports Council, Borri Darboe has made fresh allegations against The Gambia Football Federation (GFF).

The allegations include tax fraud of around D1M and also constructing a toilet at D1.5M at the Goal Project.

However, he could not give a concrete response when asked at a press conference on Friday as to how he was able to gather those facts since the GFF is not cooperating with any investigation.

The GFF has rubbished the allegations made by Darboe, adding it never committed any fraud tax.

The chairman of the National Sports Council of The Gambia used the presser to hint that he would not mind to resign if the authorities decide to overturn his decision to suspend the GFF executive pending an investigation.

Chairman Borri Darboe remained defiant despite FIFA’s threat of a possible global sanction if the decision is not reversed by today, Monday, 27th November 2017.

The outspoken football stakeholder vowed that the NSC will not rescind its decision to suspend the executive of The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) headed by President Lamin Kaba Bajo.

When asked by Sports Journalist Alieu Ceesay as to whether he had officially spoken to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Henry Gomez, who has been out of the country for weeks on an official mission, Darboe replied in the negative, adding he believed the Permanent Secretary (Dawda L. Ceesay) and Deputy Permanent Secretary (Abdoulie M. Kah) should be able to officially notify him.

The possibility was very likely that the minister could reverse the decision, considering what a possible FIFA ban could bring to the country.

Any ban by FIFA will see the global football governing body immediately stop all its financial support to the country. It will also see The Gambia kicked out of all international football competitions.

When further quizzed by Sports Journalist Alieu Ceesay as to whether he would consider resigning from his appointment if the decision is overturned, Darboe said he would not hesitate to do so.

“This is a voluntary job and if I institute something and people don’t want to listen, I don’t even mind walking to the President to tell him I am resigning.”

As to whether he would take the blame for the country’s possible sanction, he said GFF should be blamed if FIFA suspends the country because they refused to cooperate with investigation.

He said the country has suffered a lot due to poor performance, stressing that “there is 100% corruption at the GFF by few individuals”.

No to FIFA threat

The Gambia’s National Sports Council (NSC) chairman says his Council will not heed to a FIFA threat to ban the country if its decision to suspend the executive of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) is not reversed by Monday.

Borri Darboe says his Council’s decision to suspend and investigate officials of the GFF is irreversible and that if the world football governing body bans the country, then it is in the “best interest of all to clean the mess”.

He also accused the current GFF executive of tax evasion and said they are currently preparing a report to send to FIFA to support their decision of suspending the FF officials.

Below, we reproduce the full letter read to the press by the Council’s chairman:

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.

On behalf of the National Sports Council, I welcome you to this short briefing to provide with you an insight of the NSC’s position with regards to our action to suspend the current Executive of the Gambia Football Federation and FIFA’s response to this move.

We will like to inform you that we are in no way reluctant to engage with the suspended Executive as proposed by FIFA in their letter to the Council. However, we will not rescind our decision nor compromise the principles of good governance.

The Sports Council is not and will not compromise nor abandon the current principles of accountability and transparency. The Gambia will not allow any individual or group to flout the financial rules and regulations of this land with impunity without being dealt.

Ladies and gentlemen wherever and whenever the Sports council as the regulatory body identifies wrongdoing it is going to investigate it and then take the necessary legal steps if necessary to hold the individual or group responsible. FIFA does not preclude investigations but rather supports them. As a governing body, FIFA itself suspended its senior executives when they were being investigated.

To let you know just one serious case at hand right now. The NSC has investigated and confirmed with the Gambia Revenue Authority that there is sufficient evidence of GFF involvement in tax fraud.

GFF has to pay over One Million Dalasis (approximately $20,000) to GRA as penalty and tax liability. Again, our economy is tax based and cannot entertain tax fraud. You cannot willfully defraud the nation and escape by using a cover of FIFA and CAF. Citing an example of this misconduct to the press will be inappropriate at this point in time as investigations continue. But be assured that we do have such evidences in our possession and will be prepared to communicate it to FIFA.

Also let me make it clear that a full and detailed report will be compiled and forwarded to FIFA at the end of the investigations. We will also advise the press not to come to any hasty assumptions and comments but rather allow the investigation to continue in an atmosphere devoid of bias.

We will continue with the investigations and any developments will be communicated in the future. In the worst scenario, it is better for the country to be suspended and we put our house in order than allow wrong doing to prevail and remain as we are without progress in our football development.

Ladies and gentlemen Senegal is currently No. 1 in Africa according to FIFA’s ranking. Why can’t we manage at least a respectable position in FIFA’s ranking? Currently The Gambia is 50th in the rankings only better than a few island states in Africa. The Gambia has changed forever and football must follow.

We have found ourselves in situations like this twice and the good principles of the nation prevailed at the end of the day. Thank you very much.

Author: Alieu Ceesay
Source: Picture: Borri Darboe, NSC Chairman