N$2 million missing from NPBWCB coffers
The new Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) has maintained its innocence, amid reports that its coffers have been sucked dry by their predecessors.
The board, which took office in September last year, said this week that an audit carried out by the Ministry of Finance in 2016, had revealed financial mismanagement by members of the former board.
Current board member Ronald Kurtz, who is an attorney by profession, told the Windhoek Observer that at least N$2 million is unaccounted for by the previous board, whose members are said to have paid themselves as much as N$20,000 in sitting fees.
Kurtz confirmed that when they took office last year, the NPBWCB had N$600,000 in its bank account, which was not enough, considering that they were already facing financial difficulties, in terms of keeping their dilapidated offices in Windhoek operational.
“We are trying to get hold of the permanent secretary at the ministry of sport, as we do not know how we will pay the salaries for this month going forward. The office rent must also be paid,” Kurtz said.
“They (the previous five-member board) were not taking down minutes of their meetings, and hence we do not know how many meetings they were having each year or what their agendas were during the meetings.
“So we have adopted a proactive approach, by having a secretary, who will take down minutes at a minimum fee, and we have reduced our board sitting fees, to cut down on the costs that we already incur, by running the office.”
Kurtz also disclosed that the new board had slashed board sitting fees per member to N$5,000 per meeting.
He said the new part-time secretary will be paid N$1,500 per meeting, adding that these decisions were part of a broader approach that the new board had adopted, in view of the reduced Government funding available. He said that since their appointment, they had only been paid a total of N$175,000 in sitting fees for the 13 meetings they have held so far, while they were still owed N$150,000.
Kurtz also said that the secretary had only been paid a total N$10, 000 for the 13 meetings held last year.
He disputed a media report that claimed that the new board had paid themselves between N$15,000 and N$20,000 per meeting, for the gatherings they held last year.
The media report had also alleged that the new board had employed a secretary at their office, who was never present, and who was being paid N$10,000 per month.
He said such utterances were unfounded and baseless.
“We are not misusing money, as has been alleged. We are coming here to do the job that we took oaths about, and in as much as we deserve to be compensated for it, we have not tried to milk or enrich ourselves through these positions, as alleged in that publication.”
Meanwhile, Kurtz has revealed that besides the Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing Academy’s licence, which has been renewed, no other boxing stable had applied for licences so far in 2017.
“We haven’t as yet had anything for the new year, but since the year is still starting, maybe there are some new stables that will be coming up during the course of the year,” he said.
The NPBWCB is responsible for sanctioning both wrestling and boxing matches in the country, and for providing scales to weigh competitors.
They also erect rings, making sure that this is done according to international standards, among other responsibilities.