Zambia FA chief arrested in AFCON allowance fraud fiasco

Zambia FA chief arrested in AFCON allowance fraud fiasco

Festus Chuma 09:30 - 24.04.2024

Zambia FA officials have been arrested for allegedly embezzling AFCON 2023 allowances and are facing charges of fraud and money laundering.

The president of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), Andrew Kamanga, was arrested by the country's Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) on Tuesday afternoon in a clampdown on alleged corruption and money laundering linked to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) allowances

The arrests, which also included FAZ General Secretary Reuben Kamanga and two others, spotlight deep-seated issues within Zambia's football governance.

In an official statement, the DEC detailed the charges against the suspects, which include obtaining money by false pretenses and conspiracy to defraud. 

These charges relate to an elaborate scheme where funds meant for official travel to the AFCON in Ivory Coast were allegedly siphoned into personal accounts.

The suspects allegedly diverted over K341,902 (Ksh 1,779,665.26) meant for FAZ officials’ travel and other expenses to their personal accounts. The alleged fraudulent activity occurred between January 1 and February 15, 2024, which corresponds with the period of the AFCON tournament.

According to the DEC, neither Madalitso Kamanga nor Jairous Siame, who received significant sums and travel tickets, held any official or executive positions within FAZ.

Legal expert and anti-corruption advocate, Linda Njovu, commented on the case

"This arrest is a pivotal moment for Zambia. It sends a strong message that no one is above the law, and financial mismanagement, especially in public institutions, will not be tolerated," he said.

The football community in Zambia has reacted with mixed emotions. While some express shock and disappointment, others feel vindicated in their long-held suspicions of mismanagement within FAZ.

The accused are currently finalizing bond processes and will soon appear in court to face the charges laid against them. 

This case is being closely watched by both local and international observers as it could have significant implications for the governance of football not only in Zambia but across Africa.

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