The government has questioned Football Kenya Federation’s expenditure after an invoice the federation had sent to Ministry of Sports early this week appeared to bear inflated costs.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) sent an invoice to the ministry on Wednesday, asking for $40,000 (Sh4 million) to cater for the accommodation of 20 national football team players and 12 members of the technical bench at Africana Hotel in Alexandria where the team was based ahead of its 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against Egypt that was played on Thursday evening.
Through government representatives in Alexandria, the Ministry of Sports contacted Africana Hotel and obtained an invoice bearing a figure significantly lower than the one quoted by FKF.
Our own independent investigation has shown that accommodating a 32-man squad in executive rooms in the four-star hotel would cost 1,600 Egyptian Pounds (Sh10,116) per player a night, translating to Sh1.8 million for full board accommodation of all players over five days. The cost would be lower if players share rooms.
No contact details
Further, the invoice sent out by the federation bore a logo different from that of Africana Hotel. The invoice did not have any contact details or account numbers of the hotel.
When contacted, FKF Chief Executive Officer Barry Otieno admitted that the invoice had emanated from his office, but added that some individuals were out to portray his office in bad light and have gone on to politicise the matter.
“The invoice doing rounds was given to federation officials prior to the team checking into the hotel. However, as is the norm, a final invoice will be given to us by the hotel upon checking out,” he said on Friday.
In the same statement, Otieno said: “The federation has since incurred debt to settle Starlets accommodation in Zambia and we are in the process of looking for funds to clear Harambee Stars hotel bill in Egypt.”
But a hotel attendant Nation Sport spoke to earlier in the day had stated said that the whole bill incurred by Harambee Stars had been paid, and that the players had a pleasant stay at the facility.
“I don’t know who is spreading the propaganda about the team being thrown out of the hotel. They have been accommodated well and I can confirm that they will check out at 7pm today. They have had a pleasant stay, the players have been disciplined and pleasant. All their bills have been cleared,” the attendant told Nation Sport on Friday.
Asked to confirm the authenticity of FKF’s invoice, the attendant directed Nation Sport to the hotel’s website which had a logo different from the one in the invoice shared by FKF. Could the federation have falsified the document sent to the Ministry of Sports?
When reached for comment, Sports Principle Secretary Kirimi Kaberia said the development was regrettable. He asked FKF officials to embrace accountability to ensure public money is put to good use.
“It is unfortunate that the federation is using crude tactics to put pressure on the government so that they can obtain money without following the laid down procedure. The federation’s officials have failed to understand that rules have changed, and there are now very stringent measures in place to ensure that tax payers’ money is properly accounted for.
“We had a budget of Sh2.5 million for this game (against Egypt) and we were shocked when they sent us an invoice worth Sh4 million. That invoice didn’t have any address nor account number where the money would be paid to. And worse, they insisted that the amount be paid directly to their accounts in cash so that they can pay the hotel themselves,” Kaberia said.
All this comes just four days after an exposé by Daily Nation showed that the Sh244 million the government gave the federation for the Africa Cup of Nations has not been fully accounted for.