Kalusha – Mine Was U.S.$50, 000 Not U.S.$80, 000 From Qatar

FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya has admitted pocketing the money allegedly given to him by disgraced former FIFA vice president Qatar’s Mohammed Bin Hammam but claims it was a debt to be paid back amounting to US$50, 000 and not the US$80, 000 shown in email exchanges between the two parties.

Yesterday, Kalusha told the Zambia Daily Mail allegations by the Sunday Times of the UK were “stupid and unfounded allegations. A statement quoting Kalusha on Lusaka Times said the article was a witchhunt “Sour grapes. I don’t vote for World Cup bids. It’s done by the FIFA Executive Committee.

“Don’t think even Bin Hammam was in Qatar bid. I remember we went there for Brazil versus Argentina friendly and there all kinds of people. From Europe, Africa and everywhere.

“It must be a witch hunt by the people who lost the Bid.”

But in a telephone interview with The Post from Tampa, Florida, Bwalya said the amount was in fact US$50, 000 and not US$80, 000 as alleged by the Sunday Times.

Bwalya explained that the money was borrowed to help FAZ run its activities at the time it was embroiled in wrangles with the then government under Rupiah Banda.

“Yali ninnkongole which I offered to pay (it was a loan which I had to pay). When I said I had the money they said no, and that is where we are. Bin Hammam is a personal friend of mine, I knew him for a long time. Lulya twakwete ama problems ku FAZ, he said to me that, ‘if you need any help, let me know, so he said he was going to help me. There were other discussions before what was published, so later I decided to brief him that natukwatako ama problems because yalifula as we were fighting akamfulumfulu.

“That is why I wrote him that email so that he can help us with that amount. He, however, did not send us that amount, he sent less. Yali ninkongole which I offered to pay back, you understand, it is not that amount indicated,” Bwalya said.

He said that the money was channeled to FAZ activities at that time when Zambian football association was having financial problems.

“The money was put to good use because that is the time twalepishana nabena Rupiah. I offered to pay them as indicated but they said no, just wait we will tell you. In principle we should have paid it back because yali ninkongole,” he said.

And Bwalya dismissed the allegations in the Sunday Times of UK that he was among the recipients of illegal payments from Mohammed Bin Hammam in a covert operation to win votes for the World Cup 2022 bid for Qatar, as merely an act of witch hunt by people who lost the 2022 World Cup bid.

He said he does not vote for the World Cup bid.

“That’s a witch hunt by people who lost the bid. Anyone who is in football knows that I do not vote for the World Cup bid. It’s the FIFA executive committee who vote. In fact the leader of the Qatar bid was another gentleman,” said Bwalya in an email.

Bwalya travelled as part of the aance party for the Chipolopolo’s trip for a friendly with Asian champions Japan on Friday in the Raymond James Stadium.

“Zambians should know that I did not take part in voting for the 2022 World Cup hosts and so could not have voted for Qatar. The 30 presidents of football associations in Africa mentioned in the article have no say in who gets the nod to host a World Cup. Even the Sunday Times of the UK know that even though they went ahead and published those lies about us. Voting for World Cup hosts is the matter of for the FIFA executive committee,” he said.

“At the time of the elections for the Qatar 2022 World Cup I was not yet an office bearer in CAF. I was only elected into CAF executive committee during elections held in Sudan in 2011. Another thing is that the Qatar bid was headed by someone else, not Bin Hammam. Any dealings between me and then FIFA Vice President Bin Hammam was therefore not related to the Qatar 2022 bid.”

And Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili says Bwalya should not be judged on mere speculation.

The Sunday Times reported the African officials were bribed to influence their four members on the FIFA committee to vote for Qatar as the continent had the tradition of voting as a block.

Source : Zambia Reports

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