Safa’s cur­rent boss and a for­mer Fifa exec fin­gered for con­spir­ing to se­cure 2010 World Cup for SA

CityPress - - Front Page - NKU­L­ULEKO NCANA [email protected]­

Safa pres­i­dent Danny Jordaan al­legedly turned to the Gupta fam­ily to cover up a $10 mil­lion (R138 mil­lion) hole in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s books – the re­sult of aa il­le­gal pay­ment paid to an of­fi­cial of in­ter­na­tional foot­ball gov­ern­ing body Fifa to se­cure South Africa the 2010 World Cup. This ex­tra­or­di­nary al­le­ga­tion is con­tained in an af­fi­davit by the foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion’s for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO), Les­lie Sed­ibe. He has laid crim­i­nal charges against Jordaan and Fifa’s for­mer sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Jérôme Val­cke, for fraud and cor­rup­tion, ac­cus­ing the two of con­spir­ing to au­tho­rise a $10 mil­lion bribe to Fifa’s then vice-pres­i­dent, Jack Warner, to se­cure his vote for South Africa to host the 2010 soc­cer spec­ta­cle.

The case was opened at the Mon­deor Po­lice Sta­tion in Johannesburg just days be­fore Christ­mas, when Sed­ibe sub­mit­ted tranches of doc­u­ments – in­clud­ing the Safa Close Out Re­port on the 2010 Fifa World Cup – as ev­i­dence to sup­port the cor­rup­tion charges.

“The ev­i­dence I have sub­mit­ted to as­sist the po­lice is con­tained in doc­u­ments that were handed to me by Safa in the course of our le­gal mat­ter be­fore the courts,” Sed­ibe told City Press this week.

“I found proof in there of wrong­do­ing and it is my duty as a re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zen to re­port what I found to the au­thor­i­ties.”

But Safa’s cur­rent chief ex­ec­u­tive, Rus­sell Paul, hit back, say­ing Jordaan “de­nies that al­le­ga­tion” that he ap­proached the Gup­tas for money.

“But as for the rest of the al­le­ga­tions, gov­ern­ment must speak on that,” added Paul.

“Gov­ern­ment, through then-min­is­ter of sport Fik­ile Mbalula, is­sued a di­rec­tive that it would only be the state that would speak on the mat­ter of the $10 mil­lion bribe al­le­ga­tion. As far as we know, that po­si­tion has not changed, so we will not be re­spond­ing on the mat­ter.

“I must re­mind you that Safa and Dr Jordaan were cleared by Fifa for any wrong­do­ing in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Also, re­mem­ber that Dr Jordaan just re­cently stood for a po­si­tion at Fifa which he lost. To stand for the po­si­tion, he had to un­dergo a string of tests with Fifa’s in­tegrity com­mit­tee which he passed.”

But in his af­fi­davit, Sed­ibe has asked the po­lice, the Hawks and the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity – with the as­sis­tance of the FBI – to in­ves­ti­gate a num­ber of al­le­ga­tions, in­clud­ing:

● Bribery and cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against Jordaan, Val­cke and Fifa re­lat­ing to the $10 mil­lion pay­ment as a bribe to Warner; and

● Whether the South African gov­ern­ment made any pay­ment equal to the sum of $10 mil­lion to Safa, or any­one else, to make up the short­fall on the bud­get for the 2010 Fifa World Cup in the pe­riod after the World Cup.

“I re­spect­fully sub­mit that Jordaan, Val­cke and Fifa have com­mit­ted var­i­ous crimes and should be in­ves­ti­gated,” said Sed­ibe in his af­fi­davit.

“Where nec­es­sary, the South African gov­ern­ment should en­ter into mu­tual le­gal/ju­di­cial as­sis­tance pro­grammes by work­ing with the FBI, who have in­ves­ti­gated this mat­ter for some time now and have gath­ered suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to es­tab­lish a prima fa­cie case against Jordaan, Val­cke and Fifa.”

In his af­fi­davit, Sed­ibe un­packs the se­quence of events, claim­ing that he had been sent from pil­lar to post while try­ing to se­cure fund­ing to pre­pare Bafana Bafana ahead of the 2010 World Cup be­cause Safa was broke and in dis­ar­ray.

“Jordaan then ar­ranged a meet­ing with Ajay Gupta. The meet­ing was held at Mr Gupta’s house in Sax­on­wold with the for­mer pres­i­dent, Ja­cob Zuma, in at­ten­dance,” he al­leged.

“It was on this oc­ca­sion that I met Mr Gupta for the first time. Jordaan in­tro­duced me to Mr Gupta and rec­om­mended that I should deal with Mr Gupta as he was a very pow­er­ful and in­flu­en­tial in­di­vid­ual who had the ear of the pres­i­dent.”

Sed­ibe said in his af­fi­davit that shortly after the Sax­on­wold meet­ing, he was in­structed by Jordaan to ap­ply to the Na­tional Lot­tery for fund­ing to as­sist with team prepa­ra­tions. It ap­pears that run­ning to the Gup­tas could have been Jordaan’s last re­sort to paper over the mas­sive scan­dal that would later see the dis­man­tling of a pow­er­ful yet cor­rupt bloc at Fifa.

Jordaan al­legedly made the call to the Gup­tas after Val­cke told Sed­ibe that he should ask for the fund­ing he needed for team prepa­ra­tion from the South African gov­ern­ment “as Fifa had paid $10 mil­lion to one Mr Jack Warner on be­half of Safa”.

“[Val­cke] stead­fastly re­fused to help,” said Sed­ibe in his af­fi­davit.

In his af­fi­davit, Sed­ibe has also ac­cused Fifa of play­ing a “ma­jor role in cre­at­ing a fi­nan­cial cri­sis in Safa by re­fus­ing to as­sist Safa”, say­ing that his con­tin­ued re­quests for fi­nan­cial sup­port to pre­pare the na­tional squad for the global tour­na­ment “fell on deaf ears at Fifa”. “In­stead of as­sist­ing Safa, and un­be­known to me, Jordaan had, prior to my ten­ure, in­structed Val­cke on or about De­cem­ber 10 2007 to make a pay­ment of

$10 mil­lion to Jack Warner for what was con­ve­niently termed the ‘Di­as­pora Legacy Pro­grammes’. This was noth­ing short of a cover-up for the pay­ment of the bribe to Mr Warner.”

The FBI con­ducted ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tions and ar­rested sev­eral Fifa of­fi­cials dur­ing a con­gress in Zurich, Switzer­land, in 2015, after es­tab­lish­ing an in­tri­cate web of fraud and cor­rup­tion at the high­est level in the world foot­ball au­thor­ity.

It was after these ar­rests that it emerged the

$10 mil­lion pay­ment to Warner was on Jordaan’s in­struc­tion, con­tained in a let­ter ad­dressed to Val­cke, for Fifa to pay the mil­lions to the Con­fed­er­a­tion of North, Cen­tral Amer­ica and Caribbean As­so­ci­a­tion Foot­ball (Concacaf) for the so-called Di­as­pora Legacy Pro­gramme – which Sed­ibe says never ex­isted – “with spe­cific in­struc­tions for these funds to be man­aged by Warner”.

The $10 mil­lion was de­ducted from the $423 mil­lion al­lo­cated by Fifa to South Africa’s lo­cal or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee (LOC) on Jordaan’s in­struc­tion, de­spite there be­ing no proof for such an in­struc­tion be­ing ap­proved by ei­ther Safa or the LOC, Sed­ibe claims.

“I have pe­rused all the of­fi­cial key de­ci­sions taken by the LOC since its in­cep­tion, and also looked at the an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments of Safa. I was un­able to find any proof of any de­ci­sion taken by ei­ther Safa or the LOC au­tho­ris­ing the pay­ment of $10 mil­lion to Mr Warner, as pro­posed in Jordaan’s let­ter to Val­cke.

“At no stage dur­ing my ten­ure as CEO of Safa was any dec­la­ra­tion ever made to the di­rec­tors of the LOC and the mem­bers of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of Safa re­gard­ing this pay­ment.

“This pay­ment was clearly con­cealed by Jordaan in his fi­nal re­port­ing and Close Out Re­port. All other pay­ments re­gard­ing the fund­ing of the con­struc­tion of Safa House and the pay­ment of the for­mer coach of the na­tional team, Car­los Al­berto Par­reira, were dis­closed,” said Sed­ibe.


A UNIQUE CEL­E­BRA­TION A Clause makes his way to of­fer his best wishes for the new year to farm­ers in Wald­statt, in the can­ton of Ap­pen­zell Ausser­rho­den, Switzer­land. Fol­low­ing the Ju­lian cal­en­dar, the re­gion cel­e­brates Sil­vester­ch­lausen, a win­ter fes­ti­val with pa­gan roots

SCORCH­ING Les­lie Sed­ibe

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