The fitting headline for this column should have been: ‘Convicted fraudster Magogo should resign’ but since I know that is the least an internationally certified thief who was caught red-handed can do, I went for the noble cause of apologising. Not that he will apologise and resign , but it is the least he should do after conning Ugandans a chance to watch the World Cup and bringing the image of Ugandan football into disrepute and international shame
You may all be aware that the once indefatigable Moses Magogo is serving a two-month sentence for using his position as Fufa president to cheat Ugandans of World Cup tickets.
The brief of the matter is that Fifa granted more than 500 tickets to Ugandans who wish to go and watch the 2014 World Cup but instead of calling for bidders, Magogo diverted them to the underworld black market where he sold each ticket for more than $1,000.
Thanks to Fifa’s new strict approach to graft, Magogo was found guilty of using his position to enrich himself. For the record, petitioner Allan Sewanyana managed to document 177 tickets but I’m reliably informed the actual numbers he sold on the black market is almost three times more.
So, over the past few weeks after knowing his fate, Magogo tried his best to cover up the fraud by sugar-coating it as a Fufa anomaly to the extent of trying to push the blame to Edgar Watson, the Fufa CEO, but the Fifa Ethics Committee unequivocally held him solely responsible for the fraud because of the evidence. In fact, he pleaded guilty to all charges of obtaining more than $300,000.
To me, the two-month conviction and a fine of just $1,000 seem like a slap on the wrist.
In any civilised society, Magogo would by now have resigned or else be banished from holding any football office in Ugandan football because that embarrassing episode will haunt Uganda for years if he returns at the helm of Fufa after serving his sentence.
If referees get banned for life for taking bribes, what about the person supposed to be superintendent of the game? Proline was docked without chance to defence, last season referees where banned 7 years because of what they claim putting the game in disrepute, Magogo has done more harm than all football administrators. Historically he’s the most wanting President Uganda will ever have.
The ordinary football fan may not realise this but Magogo’s conviction will irreparably hurt Ugandan football when it comes to Fifa grants and sponsorship deals. Who would entrust a convicted fraudster with hosting rights or sponsorship money?
And that could also extend to local Fufa sponsors, who for years have been complaining of Fufa’s underhand methods of negotiating.
In fact, Rogers Mulindwa, the recently co-opted Fufa executive member, once gave a detailed narration of how Magogo used his company, Pearl Sporto, to get Shs800m annually from the Fufa deal with Airtel.
So, for single-handedly putting the country’s image under disrepute, Magogo has betrayed the core tenets of the Fufa presidency. Just imagine, if he can con Ugandans of tickets, what else can he do to enrich himself given that there has never been an audit of Fufa finances? All the weak part of Magogo leadership has been issues to do with money and cranes players strike.
Going forward, there are several things that every football stakeholder should ponder on; in what capacity will a convicted fraudster preach needs what football authority will a convicted fraudster preside?
Then again, what is the fate of Ugandans who were deprived of the chance to watch the World Cup? Will they ever get justice?
Uganda is on an international trial, magogo is on a soul and moral trial. Magogo plea bargain is to say we in Uganda clap and slap you on the chick when your corrupt and things come normal after a slap. We must stand for our National pride.
Will an international certified thief have the audacity to deal with any serious sponsor?