Mar 4, 2014, 9:49 AM
Former Gambia Football Association president Seedy Kinteh has reacted to news banning him and his executive from football, calling the decision a witch-hunt aimed at discrediting the concrete achievements recorded by his administration since 2005.
Speaking to The Point, Kinteh denied that the audit report on which the Disciplinary Committee’s report was based ever indicted his executive of any wrong-doing, as every query and questions the auditors raised were adequately answered by the finance officer.
Furthermore, Kinteh went on, his executive was subjected to a police investigation on similar allegations, and the police interviewed all of them including members of the NC only to find no tangible evidence of misappropriation.
Also, according to Mr Kinteh, from the onset of the Normalization process, when his executive was being audited, FIFA had written to state that its FAP monies have been audited by external auditors and that the NC should not follow the executive on the FAP.
“So what is the motive of the NC, if not going on a fishing expedition, finding fault when even FIFA, which provided the funds, had through a letter to the NC indicated that its funds have been satisfactorily audited?’’
On the staff loans, Kinteh said what should be clear is the loans did not come from the normal FIFA FAP money, rather from a bonus given to most African nations after the FIFA World Cup; and that before the executive decided to give loans to the staff, it informed FIFA which did not object as long as loan repayments were to be done.
He further explained that neither himself nor any his executive members benefited from the said loans.
“The loans were given to the staff of the GFA as a motivation, and repayments were being done,’’ he said, adding that if FIFA had a poor opinion of him, they would not have given him an award, even after he left office.
Mr Kinteh said the NC should have the magnanimity to at least acknowledge the many achievements attained by his regime in terms of infrastructure in the form of the Football House office complex, artificial turfs, Under 17 trophy, African and World cup appearances for all youth teams; of course, he added, with the indispensable help and goodwill support of President Jammeh who had personally shown great interest in the development of the game at the time.
“It was in the same spirit of respect and patriotism that led us to save The Gambia from FIFA sanctions by electing to resign in 2012 instead of contesting our dissolution,’’ Kinteh concluded.
On the untenable large payroll of the GFA, Mr Kinteh said the expansion of the GFA facilities, such as the running of the head office and the National Technical Training center in Yundum meant that more hands were needed, and ‘besides only people with an agenda would object to the creation of employment for Gambian youths, especially around the game they love.’
Kinteh said, in fact the GFA was paying its staff regularly, until when the Ministry of Sports asked them to spend the FIFA funds on national team activities on its behalf.
“The non-refunding of those funds by the Sports ministry contributed to the shortage in cash to pay salaries,’’ he said.
In conclusion, Mr Kinteh accused the Normalization Committee of disrespecting the constitution of the GFF adopted by the football stakeholders, and carrying out a witch-hunt.