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Swimming - SSA under registrar’s microscope for non-compliance | 12 October 2019

After publishing several stories about the non-compliance of the local swimming governing body, this newspaper has finally acquired some legal proofs to back the reports on ill practices of the Seychelles Swimming Association.

A letter from the office of the Registrar General dated September 30, 2019 and addressed to the Seychelles Swimming Association (SSA) executive committee clearly highlights the irregularities which have been going on for quite a while.

The document originates from a number of complaints received from many members of the SSA by the office of the Registrar General, which in return conducted an investigation.

Based on the assessment, the office came up with a number of proofs, exposing the SSA’s non-compliance to the Registration of Associations Act 1959 (ROA).

Among the irregularities highlighted were mostly various cases of breach of the SSA constitution, including failure to provide minutes of meeting on several occasions.

Members were also not advised for the agreement to change the association’s logo which is also not in line with the constitution.

It is also stated that the refusal to host a special general meeting (EGM) is equally a breach of the constitution, precisely Article 19.2.

Furthermore, the refusal to give access to the members’ list to the Aquafins and Mahé Skimmers clubs is also another breach, specifically of article 9.2.

In line with that, the withholding of information which would have allowed members to convene for an EGM by the SSA office bearers is a breach of article 19.5 of the association’s constitution.

One of the most serious issues surfaced in the report was the failure to take a formal stance against inappropriate behaviour by Guillaume Bachmann with an underage female swimmer.

The case should have been dealt with under Article 3.1(n) of the constitution: “formulate or adopt and implement appropriate policies, in relation to sexual harassment…and any other matters as may arise from time to time”.

The SSA has been found guilty also of breaching Article 5.4(iv) of the constitution by withholding sufficient information from clubs, such as selection criteria and process, soliciting swimmers from clubs to train with Guillaume Bachman/ the academy without advising clubs concerned, allowing the academy (which is funded by the National Sports Council (NSC) – in other words, the taxpayers’ money – to function as a club which in turn competes against clubs which are self-funded, while paying no attention to the development and welfare of other clubs and their coaches.

By doing all the above, the SSA is in breach of section 11 of the ROA.

Another finding from the investigation is that the SSA is non-compliant to section 12(1) of the ROA which states clearly that provided that any change occurring in the place of office, or among the officers of a registered association shall, from time, be notified to the registrar within fourteen (14) days of such change.

The record at the office of the Registrar General does not reflect some of the persons who appear to have been appointed and who are presently members.

It is therefore unclear to the Registrar whether the members of the SSA’s executive committee have been legally appointed. The fact that the association never sent any updated list of office bearers, breaches Section12 of the ROA.

The findings also reveal that countless reminders of requests to produce the updated list of office bearers were never met.

Furthermore, the reminders were also to inform the SSA that it has not fulfilled its financial statements for the years 2006 to 2010.

Failure to provide these relevant documents amounts to a breach of Section 16 of the ROA, causing the office bearers to be liable to a fine under Section 16(2).

Regarding the SSA members, Section 7(1) of the ROA states the rights of every member to be supplied with copy of the rules of the association, copy of the last annual return of the association, copy of balance sheet or other documents. The members have however mentioned that even if they requested for documents from the executive committee, they have not received any, which is again a breach of Section 7(1) of the ROA.

As recommendations, preventing further actions, the office of the Registrar General has advised the SSA to meet with all its members to address all the issues as to satisfy the Registrar in regards to all the addressed issues and to also ensure that the association is and remains in good legal standing.

In line with that, the office of the Registrar General has requested the SSA to hold an EGM as there is solid evidence and record that members have been and are still requesting for the meeting.

The office has also suggested interaction with the SSA to reassure the authority in regards to its compliance to the ROA and also to further remind the association of the different offences.

The office of the Registrar General has also advised the SSA to do the necessary and rectify the situation, or relevant proceedings will be undertaken against the association.

It is important to note that despite all the efforts to bring the situation to light, the authority, precisely the local sport’s governing body, turned a blind eye, allowing the situation to escalate.

It is not clear whether some people are untouchable or whether the ‘laissez-faire’ attitude on the part of the decision makers is the real source of the problem, since all the evidences were brought forward.

In the best interest of Seychelles’ sport, precisely swimming, we hope that appropriate actions will be taken against those responsible.

 

R. D.

 

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