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Solicitor General’s office advises Ministry of Education, Ssewanyana on Magogo’s case

Allan Ssewanyana (L) has been told to seek other avenues if he is to further seek punishment against Magogo (R) | Softpower image

in a letter signed by JBR Suuna on behalf of the Solicitor General, of the Government of Uganda, they have advised Makindye East Member Allan Ssewanyana to seek other avenues through which they can bring FUFA President Moses Hashim Magogo to book.

Ssewanyana petitioned the central government earlier over Magogo’s involvement in the fraudulent sale of 126 FIFA World Cup tickets meant for Ugandans.

Ssewanyana alleges that Magogo through his agent Peninah Kabenge Aligaweesa sold the 126 tickets to USA based Howard Schwartz and received $40,000 (approx. UGX 146 million) as payment for the tickets.

FIFA carried out an investigation into the matter, and on 10th October 2019 through its independent Ethics committee suspended Magogo for two months and fined him 10,000 Swiss Francs (approx. 38 million UGX). After the latter entered a plea bargain with the committee.

The MP was not content with the ruling and called on the government through the relevant ministry to further carry out an investigation into FUFA and Magogo.

Undergrounds that the ruling of the case was not consummate of the criminal offence committed by Magogo and that the federation is a quasi-public body, and therefore the government can sanction other punishments through its corruption and embezzlement laws.

On November 18th, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education following orders from the Minister and First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni wrote to the solicitor general and the Inspector General of Government to act on the matter.

“We are in receipt of concerns from some stakeholders that while FIFA, has in the case handled the matter in contraventions of FIFA’s own relevant code of Ethics to a plea bargain agreements and corruption among others, the sanctions of 2-months suspension and Swiss Francs 10,000 fines by FIFA is not commensurate with the criminal offence for which the accused and FIFA through the plea bargain acknowledge was committed.”

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to draw this matter to your attention and possible action,” read part of the letter to the Solicitor General.

Upon that request, the Solicitor General’s office has indeed acted and advised the ministry.

The solicitor General advised that while the Government does have an interest in the allegations and investigations into the matter, due to its implications on the governance of sport in the country, the government should attach clear delicacy to the issue as it might infringe on the relationship between the national government, national associations and FIFA.

That while FUFA is registered by the National Council of Sports, it is by definition a private organization made up of members and subordinate to FIFA. Therefore its status as the internationally recognized overseer of football in Uganda is dependent on adherence by itself and by third parties (including the government to FIFA statutes and regulations.

And therefore, according to article 19 of the FIFA statutes, a member organization is given the mandate to manage its affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties.

Stating that FIFA has in the past interpreted undue influence to include all legislative enactments, court orders, governmental administrative actions deemed to undermine FIFA’s regulations to the status of national associations as independent non-governmental bodies.

Quoting the situations in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Sudan instructive, and therefore deemed undue influence despite the respective governmental actions legitimate under national law.

Accordingly, FIFA will deem government involvement in the matter, which the Independent FIFA Ethics committee has already adjudicated upon. Rendering any move by government as interference in the affairs of FUFA, punishable by suspension or a ban to Uganda.

The office of the Solicitor General, therefore, advised that Ssewanyana and any other aggrieved stakeholders on the matter look for alternative avenues to address their grievance through FUFA’s own statutes and regulations instead of through the Ministry.

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