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Basketball Non-compliant SBF yet to provide audited account | 23 August 2019

Even after ample time given by the Office of Registrar of Associations, the Seychelles Basketball Federation has not yet submitted its audited account for the year 2018 as requested by the law.

Not in the good books with the law since its last annual general meeting (AGM) held on Saturday April 27 this year, the Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) has been linked to various discrepancies, including huge debts, fraudulent financial report, mismanagement of funds and lately, failure to provide audited account.

Concerned by the consequences the unacceptable behaviour by the SBF may have on the sport, a group of concerned members decided to suspend the sport’s executive committee, replacing it by a caretaker team, pending a requested investigation.

Led by former SBF president Jean-Guy Alphonse, the caretaker committee also made up of Tracy Hetimier, Valli Ismael, Patricia Saminadin, Roy Collie and Gioven Yocette had a meeting with the chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) Jean Larue to justify, on behalf of all team representatives, the reasons for the actions taken, but more than two months down the line, nothing has been made public about any actions taken.

In June, the Registrar General Wendy Pierre had a meeting with the SBF executive committee members, during which it was agreed that there would be an audit of the federation.

Despite being given ample time for this to be attended to, including extensions upon the request of the SBF, no audited account has reached Mrs Pierre’s desk so far.

According to the Office of Registrar of Associations, through its communication with the federation’s auditor, it was explained that the account was sent to the SBF to be signed but was never returned.

There were also some amendments which were being required by the federation which the auditors did not entertain.

Still according to the office, their main concern as the Registrar is to receive audited accounts as required under the Registration of Association Act plus any other accompanying documents and records.

The office also made it clear that despite the fact that it does not entertain internal issues in regards to auditors or auditing, the fact remains that until now, no account has been received and that at this point, it has not accepted to meet with the executive committee again, given that its position was clear.

It also explained that the SBF has a constitution which should guide all its members on how to proceed, not withstanding actions which the Registrar may decide to take, given that this federation is not struck off the register.

The office previously indicated that if it remained unsatisfied in regards to the SBF’s compliance vis-à-vis its request for documentations and also in regards to compliance with obligations by the federation under the Registration of Associations Act, relevant actions were to be initiated and in that regard this newspaper has learned that the case has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General, in regards to what the Act provides in terms of legal actions.

With the Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) out of the way, many are wondering about the future of the sport, now that the new season is nearly due.

Some frustrated basketball lovers have already started to show their frustrations by asking meaningful question such as “Why is submitting accounts so complicated this year and what is so difficult with keeping record of all your payments and receipts for transactions carried out?”

These are questions which the SBF executive committee members should come forward to answer, since taxpayers’ money is involved.

Some members further added that there were competent people running the SBF before the existing committee stepped in and promised to do a better job.

“Now the federation is in ruins, in debts and nowhere near resolving this issue,” said one member who further added that the only thing that comes to mind when matters like these arise and drag for this long is that there are things which are not in line with the sport’s constitution that is going on.

They are asking the SBF executive committee members to “walk the talk” which they talked when they took office two years ago.

Other than huge debts, the SBF’s financial reports also featured irregularities and inconsistencies, including no entry fees, registration fees and licence fees for the Indian Ocean Club Championships held locally in December last year and also records of purchases regarding a grant of US $4,000 given to the SBF by the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) through the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

After reporting on the incident on several occasions, this newspaper was accused by the SBF of “irresponsible journalism”, costing the federation possible sponsors.

It also received verbal threats, as well as a written letter from the SBF lawyer asking for an apology, a demand which was said could lead to further legal action if refused.

Now that the case has reached the Office of the Attorney General, it is up to members of the public to decide “who is the irresponsible party”.

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