THE much-anticipated Michael Garcia Inquiry report into the bidding process for the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 World cups says payments to CAF officials, among them Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya, were “improper”. FIFA has been forced to publish the report after it was leaked to German newspaper Bild.
When the ‘cash gifts’ were first revealed by the Sunday Times newspaper in the UK, Bwalya, who was then FAZ president and CAF executive committee member called the reports a witch-hunt, but later said the money from wealthy Qatari businessman Mohamed Bin Hamman was borrowed on behalf of the Zambian FA. Bin Hamman was seeking to challenge former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2011.
“…December 2012 Bin Hammam Report demonstrates that Mr Bin Hammam continued to make improper payments to CAF officials after the December 2, 2010 World Cup vote, through the months leading up to the June 2011 election. For example, the December 2012 Bin Hammam report described Mr Bin Hammam’s payments to a Gambian football official, Seedy Kinteh, of $10,000 in February 2010, $50,000 in March 2011, and $9,396 in April 2011; his payments to a Zambian football official, Kalusha Bwalya, of $50,000 in December 2009 and $30,000 in April 2011; and his payments to the Niger association or its President, Col. Djibrilla Hima Hamidou, of $50,000 in April 2010 and $10,000 in May 2011.1535 Payments to officials from outside CAF were also the subject of the December 2012 Bin Hammam Report, and those payments spanned the 2010 to 2011 period,” read details on page 232 of the 403 page report.
There is no question Mr Bin Hammam’s payments to CAF officials and others were improper and violated the Code of Ethics. Mr Bin Hammam has already been sanctioned for his violations with a lifetime ban. Formal investigatory proceedings were also opened against a number of the recipients of Mr Bin Hammam’s “gifts.” Those cases are ongoing,
further read an excerpt of the report.
However, the report stated that the record before the Investigatory Chamber did not support the conclusion that the purpose of those payments was to help Qatar to win the 2022 World Cup bid.
The report further stated that evidence before the Investigatory Chamber strongly suggested that Bin Hamman paid CAF officials to influence their votes in the June 2011 election for FIFA president.
Only FIFA executive committee members participated in the December 2, 2010 World Cup vote, leaving the various CAF association officials who received benefits from Mr Bin Hamman essentially without means to influence the bidding process in Qatar’s favour,
stated the report.
“In contrast, every member association had a vote in the presidential election. Mr Bin Hamman was candidate in that election until late May 2011, when the FIFA Ethics Committee suspended amid allegations he made payments to presidential voting delegates from other associations weeks earlier…”