SON exco sent packing over missing funds…Officials could face the music in the court of law

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-The Jack is out!!! Desperate attempts to keep the lid tight on the boiling pot of Special Olympics Namibia (SON) has boomeranged after shocking revelations of embezzlement of funds came to light.

In a strongly worded document leaked to New Era Sport, it has been established that Special Olympics International (SOI) has grounded the entire SON Board of Directors (BoD) amid serious allegations of financial irregularities and gross mismanagement of assets.

The body took issue with damning allegations of governance concerns that were brought to its attention.

The Special Olympics Legal Department reviewed the SON Site Visit Report compiled by Special Olympics Africa staff members, Maria Muller and Desmond Sibiya, on the 7th of this month.

According to the report, significant amounts of SON funds have been withdrawn from programme accounts without appropriate oversight or documentation that the funds were used towards the Special Olympics mission while recent financial audits were qualified, either due to insufficient supporting records or insufficient internal controls.

The report also indicates that oversight and participation from a majority of board members has been lacking or insufficient to ensure proper governance around financial controls, among other pertinent issues.

“As a result of these serious allegations, Special Olympics International is requiring the immediate removal of all Special Olympics Namibia Board members.

“It is our understanding that Charles Nyambe, regional president and managing director for Africa, presented Special Olympics International’s findings at a meeting of your BoD on 14th of this month where the four members present voluntarily stepped down.
It was also resolved that all board members who were not present are immediately removed from the SON board.

In the meantime, the embattled sports body’s accreditation status is also adjusted to Founding Committee status, effective immediately.

“Immediate removal of your BoD is being implemented as an emergency measure to ensure financial and governance integrity can be restored for Special Olympics Namibia as soon as possible.”

Until a replacement governing body is elected after the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, the trident of Peter Wilson, Melitha Mathe and Deon Namiseb have been authorised by Special Olympics International to serve as interim Founding Committee Members.

SON has now been placed under the supervision of Special Olympics International’s Africa regional office until confidence is restored in its governance.

“These actions are being taken pursuant to Special Olympics International’s authority as described in the Special Olympics general rules and the 2016-2017 Accreditation License Agreement signed by SON.

New Era Sport has also established that Special Olympics International is making every effort to recover the missing funds for the benefit of SON athletes and will seek available penalties pursuant to the law for those responsible for the mismanagement of assets.

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