Boxing Board’s telephone, internet cut and bank account suspended

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-The Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) is in a serious shambles and if matters are further left unattended to, affairs at the country’s professional boxing governing body could reach a point of no return.

With the ever-scrambling NPBWCB’s financial muddle already public knowledge, New Era Sport yesterday discovered that telephone lines and internet connection at the office of the boxing board were cut since late last year due to a string of unpaid utility bills by the board to the relevant service suppliers.

In fact, for some time now, the bank account of the boxing board has been in a minus, which led to its recent suspension – meaning local boxing promotions have for the past few months been forced to pay thousands of dollars of sanction fees in hard cash as NPBWCB appears to have stopped using electronic transfers due to their corroded bank account.

With local promoters sanctioning fees – which are normally in the range of N$250,000 to N$600,000 depending on the magnitude of the boxing card – now being paid in hard cash the transparency and accountability of such “open air” transactions are being strongly questioned.

Not just the suspended bank account, as New Era Sport yesterday also established that the boxing board has for the past two months not paid the rental fees for the office space at BPI House in Werner List Street in the City Centre.

The landlords have already served NPBWCB with an eviction order that already came into effect end of April.

Even worse, employees of the boxing board are said to have been temporarily placed on the payroll of the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) until the boxing board sorts out its financial mess.

Early this year, media reports also accused the NPBWCB of milking the coffers of the boxing body dry through exorbitant sitting allowances and other unexplained incentives, which board members pocketed during the various boxing bonanzas staged by local boxing promoters.

As per various media reports, each board member was reported to have pocketed between N$15,000 and N$20,000 in sitting allowances between October and December last year, which totalled an estimated N$300,000 or more within that period.

Following those damning reports, NPBWCB later called a shabbily organized press conference where board members tried by all means to justify why they claimed such massive figures in sitting allowances but the explanations accorded and documents produced during that conference were short of substance and lacking in many aspects.

For instance, the board could not satisfactorily justify and provide supreme logic as to why they appointed a new private secretary to take minutes at their meetings at a reported cost of N$10,000, while they already had a full-time highly experienced office secretary capable of executing similar functions any day, anytime.

It was also at the time alleged that board members were reportedly pocketing N$3,500 each for attending professional bouts, while whoever amongst them chose to be the supervisor on the night would easily walk away with figures between N$10,000 and N$12,000 – that’s roughly three times more than an average boxer on the undercard would get.

Approached for comment, NPBWCB board member Ronnie Kurtz confirmed that they are indeed facing rough financial times, which have led to the disconnection of internet and telephone services at the office, further confirming that paying rental fees for the office have become a serious challenge.

“But we are in the process of sorting all those issues out, depending on how soon we get our annual grants from the line ministry so that we pay the various service providers. We are even thinking of finding cheaper office space and also looking at other cost-cutting measures,” said Kurtz, who was speaking from Cape Town, South Africa.

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