Malawi disabled athletes can no longer participate in international competitions, access training and funding as International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended, indefinitely, the Malawi Paralympic Committee (MPC).
Failure to reimburse 4 895 pound sterling (K2.3 million) grant for Malawi team’s aborted 2012 London Paralympic Games’ trip last August has cost MPC the membership to the world governing body for disabled sports.
The suspension is with effect from January 29 2013.
“Despite various reminders for the past five months, the amount of 4 895 pound sterling has not been returned, and despite our efforts we have never been properly updated on the measures taken by your National Paralympic Committee (NPC) to correct this situation,” wrote IPC chief executive officer Xavier Gonzalez to MPC vice-general secretary George Luhanga and president Tikatika (Juma) Mkandawire.
“This situation is totally unacceptable and very disappointing, especially for an organisation that was granted with the IPC membership not more than a year ago at the 2011 international Paralympic Committee general assembly in Beijing. We have decided to suspend your organisation immediately from the date of this letter.
“The loss of membership means IPC shall not hear MPC on any matter except the suspension, cannot vote at IPC congress, and enter in competitions sanctioned by IPC,” adds the letter of January 29 2013 copied to Sports Council executive secretary George Jana and principal secretary II, Justin Saidi.
To reclaim the membership, MPC has to present a long-term plan to IPC and “once we have the assurance that the NPC Malawi stands on solid grounds again, we will be able to lift the suspension and grant your NPC with all its membership rights.”
Jana confirmed the suspension on Thursday when asked if MPC had submitted financial report of the K2.3 million (about $6 764), which excludes bank charges for wiring the money to IPC.
“We are still waiting. Meanwhile, the MPC has been suspended by the IPC until they fully refund the money they owe. We can only emphasise to the association for them to present to us the information we require,” Jana said through an e-mail response.
In a response to a questionnaire, Luhanga, despite the council saying they had not received the report, again claimed that they had managed to forward the financial report to council.
“This is a sad development towards Malawi NPC as it has just started proving that it can put Malawi on the map through the results on the just-ended Zone VI games in Zambia, where we managed to get a bronze medal [Tamala Banda (bronze) and Witnes Asima (fourth place],” Luhanga explained.
In November, Luhanga, who last week claimed to have sent the report to the council, said out of the K2.3 million, MPC had between K800 000 (about $2 352) and K900 000 (about $2 647) in its coffers as the rest was spent on logistics, buying the team shoes, tracksuits, bags and uniform.
IPC wants a refund of the grant after MPC, on government instruction, failed to send blind athletes Chisomo German and Janet Shedan alongside their guides Faith Labana and Chiyembekezo Jamali to London.
In November 2012, the IPC barred Mkandawire and MPC executive committee member Glory Maulidi from attending a paralympic conference in South Africa following the failure to refund the grant.
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CAPTION: Luhanga: This is a sad development