AS Muhanga under probe over bouncing cheques
THE National Police are investigating Muhanga District officials for allegedly issuing bouncing cheques to AS Muhanga football club’s players and officials.
The investigations come at a time when AS Muhanga, sponsored by Southern Province district failed to honour their last game of the 2013/14 Turbo King Football League season against champions APR.
The Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Hubert Gashagaza confirmed the development, but refused to identify the officials, said on Tuesday that Police is carrying out investigations on how AS Muhanga players were issued bouncing cheques by the club’s committee.
“We are interrogating the club officials (unidentified) over these cheques after players themselves brought the matter to attention of the Police,”
“So we are carrying out investigations to get to the bottom of the whole issue. We think it’s a criminal offense and this is why we have intervened,” said Gashagaza.
Though Gashagaza failed to reveal the names of the officials, the real identities of the officials being interrogated over this saga are the former AS Muhanga chairperson and incumbent Muhanga District Executive Secretary Celse Gasana as well as the club’s Treasurer Innocent Gashugi who also handles Youth affairs in the district.
When investigations are concluded, the two officials’ file will be sent to the prosecution. According to the penal code, the penalty for issuing a bounced checque is 2 to 5 years in jail.
According to head coach Ali Bizimungu, the players and technical staff who demand Rwf. 30 million from the district, took the matter to the Police after the failed attempts to get their recruitment fees and salary arrears as promised.
“AS Muhanga owes us a total of Rwf. 18 millions of unpaid recruitment fees which was supposed to be paid two seasons ago (2012/13 season). The club committee tried to lure players by giving them cheques in July, 2013 which were meant to be cashed in a month after,”
“But by August, 2013, the club authorities had not deposited the money to the players’ accounts as promised. The situation escalated in April this year, when players realized that their monthly salaries for the past four months were not even being processed, a feat which forced them to seek Police’s intervention,”
“They were very patient and lenient to the club committee for the past two seasons but continued deceit from the club officials in the final stages of last season, forced players to strike as they could no longer trust them,”
“The same officials who had shun the club when players were requesting for their unpaid arrears came on the final match of the season against APR, begging players to honour the match but it was too late because all their pleas fell on deaf ears,” added the former Rayon Sport coach.
Efforts of reaching the two concerned officials for a comment were futile as they could not pick up the reporter’s repeated calls.
Muhanga district has a Rwf. 60 million-annual budget meant for their club, AS Muhanga. Insiders also state that the money was released from the coffers of the district, however, never channeled to the players’ accounts.
The financial crisis in the Southern Province based club sparked off its relegation as they finished rocked at the tip of the standings with 18 points in 26 matches.
They were relegated to the second divisior tier alongside Esperance who finished placed 13th with 21 points.