Expense under scrutiny
The Budget Committee of the Hero Asia Cup hockey tournament has recently sought explanations from five to six subcommittees for either excessive expenditure or incongruence of the estimated budgets.
This is an interesting exercise as far as the sports federations of the country are concerned where scrutiny in anomalies of expenditure of any domestic or international tournament has hardly been heard of.
After having scrutinised all expenditures amounting Tk. 2.2 crore for the successful holding of the Asia Cup during October 11-22, the budget committee identified approximately Tk 15 lakh incongruence with the submitted bills, a source confirmed on condition of anonymity.
When contacted, Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) general secretary Abdus Sadeque acknowledged that the budget committee had issued letters to different subcommittees, seeking explanations of their expenditure in a bid to bring accountability.
“Ninety percent of the budget has been disbursed on demand to different sub-committees during the tournament and the explanations have been sought to justify their expenditure as the budget committee has found some difference compared to the estimated budgets,” Sadeque told The Daily Star over phone from Singapore yesterday. The BHF formed 24 subcommittees to run the Asia Cup, which was staged in Bangladesh for the first time after a long gap of 32 years.
The subcommittees under scrutiny are transport and reception, liaison, law and order, media and floodlight.
It was learnt that the transport and reception committee has been asked to explain the justification of spending Tk 4.5 lakh that included the transport bills of an AHF official's visit to Madaripur from Dhaka, two separate bills of two AHF officials, who arrived on the same flight and have been accommodated at the same hotel, and some excessive expenditures like hiring vehicles.
When contacted, transport and reception committee secretary Ariful Islam Prince said that they were preparing their reply and were expected to submit it by Sunday.
“They gave us a letter five days ago. But the budget committee did not say anything during the tournament,” said Prince, adding that his committee spent less (Tk 22.64 lakh) than the approved budget (Tk 23 lakh).
It has been learnt that the BHF executive committee was generous in approving a hearty budget for the transport and reception committee despite there being a package proposal amounting less than half.
Liaison office committee has been asked to explain an expenditure amounting Tk 2 lakh. The media committee was asked to explain its Tk 1.59 lakh expense.
The 10-member floodlight committee has been asked to explain the bills of honorarium of Tk 66,000 when there is no such provision.
Media committee chairman Yousuf Ali appeared happy with the inquiry.
“I am happy to have such an inquiry and we have already prepared in which areas we had to spend without getting consent” said Yousuf Ali.
The BHF is one of the many federations starving for money to run their activities. They have got Tk 2.5 crore from sponsors to host the Asia Cup. Although the federation has saved nearly Tk 30 lakh, insiders in the cash-starved federation felt that they could have saved more.
It has been a practice in the BHF to save at least 20/25 percent of sponsorship money so that they can conduct other activities including youth development and training. But for the last couple of years injudicious spending has drastically reduced a healthy Tk. 3.75 core FDR they had.