FKF boss claims he inherited a federation that wasn’t remitting taxes to KRA
The move by the taxman to freeze Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) bank accounts has opened a Pandora's Box, even as the former and current administration trade accusations over who should take full responsibility for the mess that now threatens to paralyse Kenyan football.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) froze FKF accounts over tax arrears amounting to Sh44 million.
The decision has since rendered the once vibrant FKF offices a ghost house, with the future of the staff now hanging in the balance, as Nick Mwendwa's administration battles with the consequences of unpaid taxes.
But FKF operations seem to have been little affected by the cash freeze. Apparently, Mwendwa is using his own resources to fund Harambee Stars.
On Sunday (September 9), the FKF boss gave a personal donation of Sh2 million to Harambee Stars players after Kenya beat Ghana 1-0 in the Afcon qualifiers.
Following the move by KRA to deny FKF access to their accounts, Mwendwa announced that the federation will be taking austerity measures to cope with the challenging times. The FKF Women’s Premier League was the first on the chopping board after the league stalled, almost three months ago.
But Mwendwa insists that the league only took a break after Fifa failed to disburse the annual grants following the ongoing audit in Zurich. Each of the 16 WPL teams was entitled to Sh750,000 from the federation, but the cash tap has run dry following the delayed disbursement of funds.
However, it's still unlikely that FKF would liquid after the completion of the ongoing audit at Fifa headquarters, following the conclusion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Even if Fifa was to wire money into the FKF accounts, they would still not have access to it because the accounts are under lock and key that KRA is holding on to tightly.
Questions are also being asked about the source of funds the federation used to prepare national football the team ahead of the Ghana game and friendly match with Malawi.
In an interview early last week, Mwendwa blamed the mess on the previous administration led by Sam Nyamweya for failure to remit employees' Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions to KRA.
“We inherited a federation that wasn’t remitting taxes to KRA. They would deduct the money from employees’ salaries, but never remitted the amounts to the taxman. That is the mess we find ourselves in,” Mwendwa claimed.
But in a rejoinder, Nyamweya told Mwendwa to take full responsibility of the mess, terming the allegations as 'nonsensical' and full of a political witch-hunt.
"I want to be left alone. Let him (Mwendwa) carry the cross. When you take over a regime, you inherit assets and liabilities. So, I will not allow him to drag my name into the mess for political witch hunt. You have never heard President Uhuru Kenyatta accusing retired president Mwai Kibaki of the debts accumulated by his regimes. He should take full responsibility," Nyamweya said.
Surprising though, despite the supposed cash crunch at the federation, FFK recently acquired an outside broadcasting (OB) van estimated to have coast the federation Sh130 million.
"I left the federation almost four years ago and the books of accounts were approved by the National Executive Committee. Why didn't KRA freeze the accounts one or two years after I left? How come the accounts are being frozen four years later, with just one year to elections?" Nyamweya challenged.
"It's so funny that Mwendwa claims the federation found itself in this situation because of the ills of the previous administration. But how do you go about purchasing a useless OB van when you claim to be broke. I want to be left alone," added Nyamweya.
The federation could also lose Sh66 million in compensation should the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) throw out their appeal following the awarding of the money to Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche for unprocedural termination of contract.
Former Harambee Stars manager Bobby Williamson has also sued FKF and is demanding close to Sh40 million for wrongful termination of his contract when Mwendwa came into office.
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