Ugandan soccer federation investigated for money laundering
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) The Ugandan soccer federation is being investigated by the country’s financial crimes authority for money laundering.
Uganda Financial Intelligence Authority executive director Sydney Asubo confirmed the investigation but declined to give details.
The authority had frozen the federation’s accounts temporarily but had now re-opened them ”so that we don’t cripple their operations,” Asubo said.
”But we are still investigating them,” he said.
Decolas Kizza, head of finance at the soccer federation, said he was confident the investigation would show there had not been any wrongdoing.
The Ugandan investigation comes after FIFA was rocked by separate American and Swiss probes into bribery, racketeering and money laundering.
Some officials at the Ugandan federation say that about $1 million given to the country by FIFA is included in money that has been misused.
Mariam Kaliga Nakulima, an executive at the federation, was fired last month after she questioned how money was being spent.
The growing corruption scandal at FIFA may be spurring on investigations of soccer bodies at a national level in Africa, which has been a strong base of support for outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is also under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities.
Alongside Uganda, Zimbabwe’s soccer association president quit last week, a day before he was expected to be fired for mismanagement in the midst of a scandal over missing money.
Cuthbert Dube resigned on Friday and his board was fired at an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday, a meeting which was attended by FIFA and Confederation of African Football representatives.
Under Dube, the Zimbabwe Football Association slumped into severe financial problems. The last straw apparently came when money earned from ticket sales for an African Cup qualifier last month was not accounted for.
In South Africa, the main opposition party has called for a criminal investigation into two senior soccer officials after a former FIFA executive pleaded guilty in the U.S. to receiving a bribe from South Africa to vote for it to host the 2010 World Cup.
Although U.S. authorities investigating FIFA have not named the two South African officials they believe were involved, current South African Football Association President Danny Jordaan and former president Molefi Oliphant have been named by the opposition as officials who should be investigated.