BERNE (Reuters) - Nepal’s football association (ANFA) is implementing “corrective measures” amid allegations from its own senior officials about embezzlement of funds, soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Monday.
FIFA said the Nepalese FA had been the subject of an “unsatisfactory” external audit in 2012, when “unappropriated cash movements” were identified, and was also targeted by an ethics committee investigation in 2013.
Last week, two ANFA vice-presidents asked FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia to look into ANFA president Ganesh Thapa and how funds to Nepal from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were used.
The request, via an emailed letter seen by Reuters and dated Oct. 15, came after the country’s public accounts committee ordered an investigation of Thapa, an AFC vice president, over what it said was alleged embezzlement of funds.
Thapa has repeatedly denied all allegations, saying he has done nothing wrong.
“With the ANFA mired in unresolved allegations of impropriety and scandal, we respectfully request that an investigation be immediately launched by the FIFA Ethics Committee Investigatory Chamber to resolve these many concerns and questions,” said the letter.
“We have witnessed conduct that causes us concern, and based on our observations, and allegations of impropriety that have appeared in the media, we have reason to believe that Mr Thapa and (Vice President Lalit Krishna) Shreshtha may have violated the FIFA Code of Ethics and the ANFA Statutes.”
The e-mail is signed by ANFA vice presidents Karma Tsering Sherpa and Bijay Narayan Manandhar.
In a statement sent to Reuters on Monday, FIFA it was “aware of the matter and exchanged correspondence in this regard with ANFA.”
ANFA had been examined by international auditors KPMG, working in partnership with soccer’s governing body two years ago, FIFA said.
“ANFA was selected by FIFA to undergo a KPMG Central programme audit for the year 2012 which proved unsatisfactory and unappropriated cash movements were identified,” it said.
“As a consequence, a Forensic Audit (Project ”Play“) has been initiated by FIFA for the years 2011/2012. Findings of this audit were transmitted to the Ethics Committee (secretariat).”
FIFA said that ”considering these findings, Nepal was also targeted the following year by an ethics committee investigation.
Known as “project Orange”, the investigation was concerned with “Tsunami funds and the ”Goal“ (development) projects managed by the former development officer Manilal Fernando between 2005 and 2012 in the south Asia region,” FIFA said.
Fernando, a former FIFA executive committee member from Sri Lanka, was banned for life by FIFA’s appeals committee in 2013 after he was found to have breached rules on conflicts of interest and bribery and corruption.
FIFA then said that in 2014, ”specific support was given by FIFA and KPMG as part of the Performance Programme to improve the “Financial Management and governance” of ANFA.
“ANFA is implementing the corrective measures recommended by FIFA and KPMG,” it said.
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty