Jailed Mali FA President voted for another term

The FEMAFOOT General Assembly re-elected president Mamatou Toure for a second term despite him being in jail | Photo Credit: Courtesy

FOOTBALL Jailed Mali FA President voted for another term

Shafic Kiyaga 09:04 - 30.08.2023

In the face of mounting financial controversies and Touré's ongoing legal battle, his re-election raises questions not just about the electoral process but also about the future of football governance in Mali.

Absent yet most present. Mamatou Touré "Bavieux" was re-elected as president of the Malian Football Federation (FEMAFOOT) on Tuesday.

Bavieux managed to secure his re-election with a landslide victory during the general meeting held in Bamako. He won the vote with 61 votes, 1 abstention and 1 against.

Remarkably, he was the only candidate whose file was accepted by the electoral commission, even as he remains jailed on charges related to his previous role as a financial and administrative director in Mali's National Assembly.

The 66-year-old is no stranger to the inner workings of football governance.

Not only has he been leading FEMAFOOT since 2019, but he is also a member of both the FIFA Council and the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Touré is currently in detention in Bamako, awaiting trial for accusations of embezzlement and forgery. Before his current legal troubles, Touré was a former tax inspector with a master's degree in auditing.

The charges against him cover a period between 2013 and 2019, years that largely pre-date his initial election as FEMAFOOT president.

Bavieux is being accused of "attacking public property as well as forgery and use of forgery and complicity."

He, along with four others, are accused – in charges they all deny – of embezzling a reported US$28 million from the state purse.

However, there have been further accountability and financial gaps that have been uncovered FEMAFOOT under the administration of Touré.

An audit by the Pyramis Group, dated March 2023, exposed glaring financial misconduct.

For example, FEMAFOOT deducted taxes and duties from staff salaries for a total amount of CFA 23.9m [just under US$40,000], which they did not declare or pay these taxes and duties."

Notably, US$50,000 were awarded to unspecified 'other parties' without any reason or approval, directly contradicting FEMAFOOT's statutes.

Additionally, there was a mysterious gap of US$22,000 in a transaction involving the sale of sports equipment.

What's even more astonishing is that no financial report has been presented to FEMAFOOT's general assembly for the past three years, which goes against FIFA's statutes.

Unresolved financial issues from 2020 and 2021 have also come to light.

For example, nearly US$1.25 million was spent by FEMAFOOT in the final quarter of 2020 without any approval from the federation's executive committee.

Even more disconcerting is what became of the US$790,000 received from CAF for Mali's participation in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, money that should have been refunded to the Malian government.