Bhamjee’s FIFA revelations vindicated
Revelations of bribery and corruption at FIFA made by Botswana football administrator Ishmael Bhamjee in a leaked video seem vindicated following confessions from a member he mentioned as one of the chief participants. Bhamjee had ‘name dropped’ CONCACAF president Jack Warner as one of the members who received bribes in the alleged rigging of awarding the 2010 World Cup rights.
Last week, this publication reported that Bhamjee had claimed that Warner received bribes from 2010 World Cup bidding rivals Morocco and South Africa in the run up to the elective process. He stated that Warner had received in excess of $1 million from both nations but swung towards SA as they had offered him more money.
The video was published after Warner was indicted in relation to fraud, money laundering and bribery accusations. The former FIFA executive committee member revealed that Morocco had actually won the 2010 World Cup bid (which was awarded to South Africa) but they were denied the right to host the event due to bribery on the part of influential FIFA head honchos.
In a video, which Gazette Sport is in possession of, Bhamjee recalled an instance where Warner accidentally called him (mistaking him for a member of the South African Local Organizing Committee) and angrily demanded money for unknown reasons.
Warner recently released a statement via a television station in his native Trinidad and Tobago in which he stated his willingness to cooperate with investigators (the Federal Bureau of Investigations) to unearth fraudulent occurrences in football’s governing body. Warner recently revealed that he has loads of corruption details he will expose.
He stopped short of confirming the presence of a corruption syndicate at FIFA by stating the presence of funding linking him with FIFA and it’s former president Sepp Blatter. In the televised video viewed by this reporter, Warner claims to have a paper trail of evidence to prove corruption at FIFA. He stated that his evidence includes documents, bank checks and statements.
Last month a controversial donation made to Warner’s CONCACAF body was published on a global platform. The donation, titled the Dispora Legacy Programme, detailed a mysterious fund transfer to Warner from South Africa. The South African Football Association had requested FIFA to withhold a $10 million payment to the 2010 World Cup LOC and divert it to Warner under the pretense of him being the administrator of the fund.
According to South African media, the programme had no detailed documents, invoices and budgets; this has fueled speculation that the ‘donation’ was part of payments made to Warner for bribery reasons.
Journalist Ray Hartley summarized the suspicious Dispora programme by saying the following referring to the scandal,
“There are a number of important pieces of the World Cup 2010 bribe puzzle that are completed by the letter sent to FIFA by Molefi Oliphant on 4 March 2008 (The Dispora Legacy Programme). The first is that it fits in exactly with claims made in the US indictment. That document outlined how the South African government and SAFA had promised Jack Warner US$10m in exchange for three votes – his own, that of US official Chuck Blazer and one other – in favour of South Africa as World Cup hosts. The vote took place in 2004 and South Africa won. The indictment then outlines how co-conspirator number one – widely believed to be US football official Chuck Blazer, began harassing Warner for his share of the money.”