A report detailing how a company by the name Global Consultant won a bid of restructuring the Botswana Football Association (BFA) road-map has been released and the findings point to a flawed process conducted to favour one competitor.
The report which was seen by WeekendSport reveals that Global Consultants (PTY) LTD was never part of the bidding selection, but rather its name cropped up at the eleventh hour, a scenario that caused much havoc.
On March 4, 2015, the report reveals, a total of 8 consulting companies were identified from the market, and later issued with detailed tender Terms of Reference (TOR), as a response to the invitation to tender for the provision of an organizational structure review and design. These 8 companies were given a deadline of 20TH March 2015 to submit their tender documents.
It emerges from the report that Global Consultant was not among the listed companies even when the deadline for tender submission was extended to the date of 24TH March. The eight companies are De Chazal DU MEE consulting (DCDMC) LTD, EOH Botswana, Friendly Planet Holding (PTY) LTD, Innolead Consulting, Leadex Consulting, Performance Growth Consultants, Service Bridges Consulting and Stilistics Sportainmnet.
As the bidding procedure was on-going, it was discovered that only 3 companies submitted tender proposals in response to the Terms of Reference (TOR). The three companies are De Chazal DU MEE, EOH Botswana and Innolead Consulting.
It is further revealed that on the 5TH of May, a tender evaluation meeting was scheduled with a proposed evaluation team to speed up the vetting exercise. However, it emerged that such a meeting never took place as it was advised that the then recently appointed Human Resources Manager (HRM) should be involved. A belief was that the HRM would manage the envisaged project going forward.
Three months later, on August 13th, the procurement officer handed over the 3 tender submissions unopened to the HRM.
Surprisingly, the HR Manager, on the same date sent an invite to three more suppliers with a closing date of 21ST August. The HR Manager, whose name is known this publication, did not inform the three original suppliers. Rather, trhe three suppliers were informed about the resubmission with only two days left before the deadline, on the 19th of August. When given the report, the HR Manager said that only one supplier responded and was therefore awarded the contract by the BFA CEO without the involvement of the evaluation team, or at most, the National Executive Committee of the Association.
On the same day of August 19, according to the report, the procurement officer forwarded the list of those who tendered to the HR Manager. There, the process was on a ‘fast mode’. It is discovered that the HR Manager wrote to Innolead and DCDM informing them that the project had been revived for them to re-submit and tender for consideration by the Tender Committee.
According to the HR Manager’s report, on the closing date, three additional suppliers were added to the list. Curiously, one bidder being Global Consultants submitted the bid. All the while, the report shows that there was no record of the tender opening process as provided for on the TOR. Neither was there any record of an Evaluation Committee being part of the process as per the TOR’s clause 9.1 and 9.2.
As time unfolded, Kitso Kemoeng sent to the NEC the latest updates where he indicated that ‘‘the management was recommending Global consult to be awarded the contract.’’
The report however says there was no indication of an evaluation process carried out. In fact, it is submitted that the opening and evaluation of the tender was done by the HR Manager alone- a finding confirmed by the CEO at one of the meetings.
As the issue of awarding Global Consult heightened, the CEO made a recommendation to the NEC, advising that the company be awarded the contract through round robin resolution. The report says only two members responded positively. The number of the present NEC members is not indicated but it emerges that the round robin process was against the TOR clauses.
At this stage, the report states that severe damage was already done. The HRM’s report shows that some bidders who scored below the technical threshold proceeded to the next stage of opening financial proposal.
On October 22, 2015, at the scheduled NEC meeting, the issue of the changed TORs was raised and Vice President- Finance, Marketing Research, requested that the NEC be furnished with such because the dates proposed by Global Consult were different to those in the approved Terms of Reference.
At that point, a meeting between BFA President Tebogo Sebego and his three Vice Presidents (Marshlow Motlogelwa, Steven Phetlhe and Basadi Akoonyatse) was set on November 4 to extensively discuss the matter.
At the same meeting, the report reveals, the President acknowledged through an email seen by WeekendSport that indeed the process had been flawed. He further advised that the high authority ‘‘should consider relooking at the whole exercise to avoid governance lapses’’.
However, a day later, everyone was left shell shocked upon learning that the CEO had already signed the contract. According to the report, at a meeting on November 5, when a FIFA Development Officer was invited to clarify the issue on restructuring, confusion surrounded the meeting, as the FIFA officer revealed that a contract with Global Consult was signed with FIFA funding the exercise.
This publication previously reported that the matter was handed to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). When quizzed about the issue at the time, BFA CEO Kitso Kemoeng refused altogether to share details with this publication. ‘‘I think you should ask DCEC, they are best placed to answer your question,’’ he said. When further pressed about the restructuring issue, the CEO said, ‘‘I cannot talk about that matter, those who have informed you should have given you all the details.’’ Before, the incumbent CEO had laughed off the issue that he was conniving with the president to block other members from discussing the matter.
This is the same issue that had dominated media headlines for some time. The president was accused by several NEC members for signing the contract with Global consultant without engaging his committee. It was alleged that the contract was copied to FIFA- the world football governing body to inject cash for the restructuring exercise. At the time, the president was asked about the issue and he only responded that, ‘‘we will take the matters by the strides, I have not heard of any revolt and the law shall prevail’’.
The Botswana Football League (BFL) house has never known peace since its establishment in 2020. The company’s directors and shareholders, built to professionalise the elite league, are seemingly in a wild goose chase, leaving footballers’ dreams to shatter amid ‘man-made’ sporting adversity.
The BFL titanic has hit an iceberg, and the stewards and captains of this ship are struggling to bring it to calmer waters. This infighting and militancy have attracted the eye and wrath of the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, whom sources say is readying himself to prepare a tell-all meeting with the 16 premier league clubs chairpersons in the next coming weeks.
It is said that the Minister is concerned by the lack of progress at the league that should be ordinarily a flagship of Botswana football. As the Minister of Sports, Rakgare is disappointed by the crusade of blames and figure pointing at the boardrooms while essential issues like sponsorship and safe return to play are not adequately addressed.
It is said that the Minister has silently observed that the league house is moving in circles, and time wasted never returns. He is shocked that these chairpersons are incurring unnecessary costs paying players, yet they delay the return of football. When approached for clarity, the Minister could only say he is on leave and will only talk about sports matters when he resumes duty.
“I am not going to comment on anything concerning sport; for now, I am currently on my leave days to charge my batteries; talk to me after two weeks or so,” he briefly commented via a telephone interview. To this date, the BFL board has had two chairmen in as a space of seven months. Township Rollers boss Jagdish Shah was its maiden chairman during its formative stage, and Nicholas Zakhem assisted him.
It said significant progress was made to source sponsors, but what later led to factions and divisions inside the board is not adequately established. When Shah was removed, Aryl Ralobala was installed as the second chairman, but his stay has been rocky right from the beginning.
He was confronted with taxing sponsorship and broadcasting deals but what would later complicate his tenure is the burning issue of a mooted loan agreement with the Botswana Football Association(BFA). All these combined were complicated by the inability of the previous board to proceed with a smooth handover.
The BFL structure was first established in August 2020. One of its mandates was to divorce itself from the football association and negotiate key sponsorships for itself. This autonomous idea was rubber-stamped at the previous BFA general assembly.
Once the BFL fully gained independence, BFA was to give it a playing licence, and the FA will have a minor share of the profits made within a football calendar. In this company, all the 16 premier league clubs have equal shares. But at the end of every season, relegated clubs transfer their shares to newly-promoted clubs.
The spirit of brotherhood at Lekidi Football Centre has indeed fallen apart. Evidence of this development emanated at the recent National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where the Botswana Football Association (BFA) is reported to have repeatedly fluffed lines to bring football’s most shrewd schemer, Nicolas Zakhem, to book for what they term ‘undermining leadership.’
The association is said to have noted with utmost concern that Zakhem, the chief investor at Gaborone United, has on several accounts, poured scorn over BFA leadership for failing football and went on to call for their resignation as things continue to fall apart.
Moreover, the Lebanese business mogul has come out from the shell and punched holes on the administrative head of the newly formed establishment, Botswana Football League (BFL), arguing that, they too, have fallen by the wayside while attempting to professionalize the local football.
Wary of these continuous onslaughts by the Zakhem, BFA feels the man is out of order and ought to be hauled before red burning coals for undermining leadership. Sources say the association wants the ethics committee to apply its mind over Zakhem’s previous uttering and tame him for good.
Zakhem, whom football observers agree was the kingmaker as MacLean Letshwiti, and his troops triumphed over Tebogo Sebego’s allies at BFA general election held in October 2020, is believed to have fallen out of favour with the Letshwiti regime. The proof of the pudding was when he ate up Letshwiti administration during an interview on Gabz FM roughly two weeks back.
However, the association’s NEC is said to be torn apart as relationships continue to decay. Reports suggest that quite a handful of them are not entertaining the idea of reprimanding Zakhem, and even if push comes to shove, it is not the mandate of the NEC to spell a final determination on him. At the same time, judicial bodies of the association are available and functioning.
The Zakhem issue, burning as it is, saw Letshwiti’s troops coming face to face with him for the first time since assuming office. Sources claim that the members were not coy about calling a spade a spade that the BFA boss is also out of his mandate by ruling with an iron fist and should try by all means to uphold the constitution of the association. Indications are that the members are not impressed by the current state of football affairs and want a plethora of issues to address other than tailing and chastising other football administrators in the name of ill-discipline.
However, sources say there is strong determination to bring Zakhem to book by hook or crook. Meanwhile, the BFA has allowed their legal advisor to study the matter and advise on the way forward. When approached for comment, BFA legal advisor Pako Moakofi said he was not able to speak as he was still attending to his health issues.
The issue of Zakhem is also said to have lifted the lid off another NEC member’s matter. Last year, Carlos Sebina, former Tafic Chairman, was relieved of his duties after being accused of conniving with the enemy to betray and sabotage the association. The decision came when Botswana was preparing to play a crucial tie against Zimbabwe in AFCON 2021 qualifiers. Sebina was the medical committee chairman and had previously won the NEC seat as the only member from Sebego’s side.
Zakhem himself is out of the country and cannot be reached to provide further clarity, but sources close to him told WeekendSport that he is fully aware of the ongoing matter. It is no longer in doubt that BFA elephants are fighting, and it is the football grass that will suffer the most.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) contends that football is an industry that employs everyone from different sectors of the economy and will argue this point until the COVID-19 Task Force fully comprehends it.
The move comes to the fore after the association, this week, held an emergency meeting with Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to deliberate on possibilities of allowing footballers to resume training. At the same time, sporting activities remain suspended as a COVID-19 containment measure.
The BFA, BNSC held a meeting to establish the impact of suspending sporting activities on football. The BFA argues that considerable effort was initiated to return to play. Although sources say it was the first phase of deliberations, another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday with the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport, and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, to further find a common understanding.
Sources contend that although the atmosphere was a bit tense at the beginning, discussions were fruitful, with the Ministry of Sport promising to discuss the matter with the Coordinator of the Task Force, Dr. Kereng Masupu.
The uptight mood cascaded when Rakgare complained about the leakage of confidential information to third parties, especially the media. It will seem the minister was not happy at how the BFA meeting together with theirs was to be known by outside parties before a conclusion is reached. The ministry expressed its frustration concerning the slow progress of BFA as far as the resumption of football was concerned.
A senior administrator in the ministry complained that BFA was dilly-dallying even before the government suspended sporting activities. When asked to give clarity, the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Goabaone Taylor said it would be remiss of her to talk about the details of the meeting, especially when the time was not right.
“Even the ministry had to gag us because we find our confidential information littered everywhere. I am afraid that is not right, and should it persist, it can damage the confidence and the talks we are having with our partners,” she said when asked about her presence during the Wednesday meeting.
BFA, in the meantime, says their position paper does not change. They have argued that football is the only code that employs masses, and the continuation of sports ban hampers and jeopardizes contracts with various stakeholders, including players and sponsorships. Moreover, BFA says companies are reluctant to commit to football because the ban brings much confusion on the way forward.
Furthermore, the association argues that football is the biggest revenue spinner, estimated to be around P55 million. They say the game employs over 3 000 people directly and provides over 9 000 indirect jobs countrywide. Over the years, when football was in full flight, the game raked about P 26 000 000,00 in sponsorships while 4 000 000,00 came from broadcasting deals.
BFA will therefore play a waiting game while the suspension comes to an end in a week and will hope the game will never be clamped down again, which will allow the 2021-22 season to commence.