The much touted sponsorship of the Malawi National Netball Team popularly known as the “Queens” by a UK based Rach Family Trust might not be what it looks like on paper following revelations that out of the initial K120 million which was supposed to be paid in the first year of the K600 million five-year deal, the team has only been given K15 million in the last eight months.
The development has led to commentators and analysts raising questions as to the main motive of the sponsorship with some suspecting that the Trust just wanted to use the Malawi Queens as a means to fufill their sinister motives.
The suspicions come mainly following revelations that of the main man behind the Rach Family Trust, Ravi Rach, is currently battling bankruptcy charges in the UK and USA courts.
In the UK he is also said to be involved in a court case in which he is suspected of having been involved in fraudulent activities.
The Netball Association of Malawi (NAM), in the presence of then Minister of Sports Henry Mussa, signed the netball sponsorship agreement with the Rach Family Trust, which was represented by Mr Rach in February this year.
The sponsorship entails that over a period of five years the sponsor would provide MK600 million for what the contract states was for NAM’s administrative expenses and national netball team expenses.
However, it has transpired that the Trust has only given NAM K15 million for its administrative costs.
The local news outlet also revealed that the sponsor failed to meet its obligation to provide the Malawi Queens resources when the team traveled for the 2017 African Netball Championship in Uganda in June although the contract commits the Rach Family Trust “to provide allowances, accommodation and transportation for the Queens as and when they travel on local and international duty.”
An investigation and background check done by a Malawian news outlet on the sponsor revealed the information on both the bankruptcy and fraud court cases.
However, in an interview with the local news outlet, Mr. Rach confirmed about his cases but wondered how that is connected to the netball sponsorship.
“Ravi Rach is not sponsoring personally. We have a family trust which has trustees, who are wealthy individuals. The Trust has a lot of money, the bankruptcy has nothing to do with sponsorship. We are sorting everything out right now,” said Rach.
Rach, however, disputed the fact that only K15 million has been given out saying that so far the Trust has remitted K25 million to the netball team.
On the revelations that no resources have been provided for the Queens, Mr Rach said: “We haven’t released any money because they came to us last minute and we want to check where (sic) they have used the money. We are going to refund them, every tambala.”
However, an independent research by the news outlet shows that on the Uganda trip, Mr. Rach was given the budget in March, two months before the tournament.
The Malawi government, through the Ministry of Sports officials, admits to have not done any background checks before it signed the agreement with Mr Rach.
“But we are now going to make a review of the agreement, do our own research on the allegations and find a way forward,” said one official who did not want to be named as he indicated that since the issue was at ministerial level then it would only be appropriate to have a comment at the same level.
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