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Unqualified sports federations risk repaying Govt funds

Chess federation faces sanctions
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several National Sports Federations and Associations risk reimbursing all government funding they have received over the past five financial years, according to recommendations made by the Select Committee formed to investigate the operations of the National Council of Sports (NCS).

The Committee found that several registered Federations and Associations fell short of the minimum requirements set by the NCS, yet continued to receive funds from the Council. This included eight of the 51 Federations and Associations, which did not have physical addresses, posing a risk of fraud and financial loss to the government.

The Federations without physical addresses include Uganda Zurkhaneh Sports Association, Chess Federation, which was registered in 2017, Uganda Roll Ball Federation, Uganda Rowing Federation, Uganda Baseball and Softball Association, Uganda Ultimate Frisbee Association, VX Uganda, and Uganda Fencing Association.

The Committee recommended that the Auditor General conducts a forensic audit on all Federations and Associations that have received government funding over the past five years and that the Council halts the disbursement of funds to Federations that fall short of legal requirements. The report also called for the recovery of funds disbursed to Federations that failed to account for them.

The accounting officer of the NCS should be held accountable for disbursing funds to Federations despite them not meeting minimum requirements, the report said. The Committee also recommended that the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development consider releasing funds directly to Federations to eliminate the possibility of unfairness by the NCS.

The lack of policy guidelines to inform budget appropriations to sports bodies was identified as creating a policy vacuum prone to abuse by the accounting officer, with the prioritization of activities critical to the sports subsector affected. The Committee was informed by the NCS that budgets were apportioned to Federations through Council resolutions based on the prioritization of sports with a comparative advantage for Uganda.

However, the Committee found no evidence of such resolutions in the minutes of Council meetings, and no documented criteria on fund apportionment to Federations. The Committee recommended the Ministry of Education and Sports develop guidelines for fund apportionment to ensure transparency, accountability, and certainty in decision-making.

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