REUTERS - Senior officials at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) say they have no knowledge of a string of past financial audits carried out by world soccer’s governing body FIFA into potential irregularities at ANFA.
ANFA Vice Presidents Karma Tsering Sherpa and Bijay Narayan Manandhar have asked for details regarding the audits in a letter dated Oct. 22 to FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and Ethics chief Michael Garcia, seen by Reuters.
World soccer’s governing body said on Monday the Nepalese FA had been the subject of an “unsatisfactory” external audit in 2012, when “unappropriated cash movements” were identified.
FIFA said that ”considering these findings, Nepal was also targeted, the following year by an ethics committee investigation.
FIFA’s comments were in response to another letter by the two Vice Presidents urging the international body to investigate ANFA President Ganesh Thapa, who is already facing a probe at home after the country’s public audit commission found alleged financial irregularities.
“As Vice Presidents and Executive Committee members of ANFA... we are surprised and deeply concerned to learn of these allegations,” the ANFA Vice Presidents said in the letter to Valcke and Garcia.
“If these allegations are true, they are not only new information to us but also contradicted what we were led to believe by ANFA President Ganesh Thapa,” they said.
The two also requested unredacted copies of the reports and audits.
“As leaders of the ANFA, the very least we deserve is to know of any alleged impropriety or wrongdoing that may have occurred within our football association.”
FIFA, contacted by Reuters, said it had received the letter from the Nepalese officials.
“FIFA has received a letter sent by two ANFA Vice-Presidents. For the time being we have no further comments to make,” an official told Reuters.
On Monday, FIFA had said ANFA had been examined by international auditors KPMG, working in partnership with soccer’s governing body two years ago.
“ANFA was selected by FIFA to undergo a KPMG Central programme audit for the year 2012 which proved unsatisfactory and unappropriated cash movements were identified,” it said.
“As a consequence, a Forensic Audit (Project ”Play“) has been initiated by FIFA for the years 2011/2012. Findings of this audit were transmitted to the Ethics Committee (secretariat).”
FIFA said that ”considering these findings, Nepal was also targeted the following year by an ethics committee investigation.
Known as “project Orange”, the investigation was concerned with “Tsunami funds and the ”Goal“ (development) projects managed by the former development officer Manilal Fernando between 2005 and 2012 in the south Asia region,” FIFA said.
Fernando, a former FIFA executive committee member from Sri Lanka, was banned for life by FIFA’s appeals committee in 2013 after he was found to have breached rules on conflicts of interest and bribery and corruption.
This episode marks the second incident involving an Asian FA this month, after Mongolian football chief Ganbold Buyannemekh was banned by FIFA for “soliciting and accepting” bribes from ex-FIFA executive Mohamed Bin Hammam.
Additional reporting by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Toby Davis