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Zambia Football President Kamanga arrested for laundering

THE President of the Zambian Football Association (FAZ), Andrew Kamanga, has been arrested and charged with offences related to money laundering. 

The country’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) announced the joint arrest and charging of FAZ President Andrew Kamanga and his deputy Reuben Kamanga and two other individuals for money laundering offences.

In violation of Zambia’s Penal Code, the DEC has charged the arrested individuals with conspiring to defraud, collecting money via false pretence, and acquiring financial advantage through false pretence.

Kamanga is accused of using the money to fund trips for associates linked to him to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Ivory Coast, which took place in February this year. 

The Lusaka Times reported that the individuals arrested alongside Kamanga were Madalitso Kamanga (of no relation to Andrew Kamanga) and Jairous Siame. Madalitso Kamanga and Siame were part of the association’s support staff that travelled to the tournament but held no executive positions within the football association. 

The commission said the fraudulent activity occurred between 1 January and 15 February, coinciding with the Nations Cup finals where Zambia exited at the group stage.

DEC investigations found that the suspects conspired to collect K341,902.00 from the Government of the Republic of Zambia via false pretences. 

This cash was allegedly set aside as allowances for Madalitso Kamanga and Jairous Siame to attend the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). 

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The cash was sent to their own accounts, with each receiving K170,951.00 (US$6,495.64), and return tickets for K99,980.00 (US$3,826.34) were also obtained.

During an interview on Prime Television Zambia, Andrew Kamanga explained the role of the Madalitso and Siame and said there was “nothing untoward”.  

He said that the men, who were officials at club sides Lusaka Dynamos and National Assembly respectively, were “part and parcel of Faz”.

“As far as we are concerned, whoever we send on assignment, whether local or foreign, they are part and parcel of Faz,” Kamanga told Prime Television Zambia.

“In the last eight years that I have been at Faz, it was the first time we were getting such a query.

“We have never been given guidance that these parties should only be for Faz staff and executive committee members. We did clarify that with the Ministry [of Sport].”

The suspects are yet to appear in court. A Faz spokesperson told BBC Sport that Andrew Kamanga’s arrest was part of a long-term effort to “call into question” his reputation ahead of the governing body’s elections next year.

The arrests come ahead of the Faz’s annual general meeting, which will be held in Lusaka this weekend. However, the spokesperson added that the President’s position was not in jeopardy.

“There is no immediate risk of Mr Kamanga being out of Faz because this is just an arrest and the matter has to go to court – if at all there is any merit,” they said.

By Mpho Rantao