Although the Bangladesh Tennis Federation (BTF) can barely stage domestic tournaments on a regular basis, the game’s local governing body manages to stage International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) sanctioned tournaments routinely with the playoff phase of the Bangladesh ITF Junior (U-18) Tennis Championships set to get underway at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna today.
However, the alleged financial anomalies found on BTF General Secretary Golam Murshed are being discussed more than the tournament itself, where upwards of 100 tennis players are set to participate.
The treasurer of the BTF ad-hoc committee, Sheikh Mohammad Aslam, brought up the financial irregularities he found against Murshed, who allegedly pocketed Tk 72,000 from the federation’s rooms and rent budget and also tried to withdraw more money to pay unauthorised employees.
“The federation has a monthly expenditure of Tk 1.52 lakh for its employees but Mr Murshed suddenly asked me to sign a check of Tk 1.97 lakh, but I opposed it because he did not take any approval from the executive committee to appoint anyone,” alleged Aslam.
“Ask him why he did not deposit the rooms’ and shop rent worth Tk 72,000 to the federation account,” said Aslam, adding that he was going to resign because he does not want to stay in ‘such an unhealthy environment’.
“He [Murshed] sent me a letter asking me to resign because I am not helping him and trying to degrade the image of the country. I don’t know whether he has any right to ask me to resign from the post. I will talk to my lawyer as I feel dishonoured,” said the former national footballer.
It was also learned that Murshed withdrew Tk 2.58 lakh from the federation’s account on the ground that it was to cover the expenses of the BTF president, state minister for youth and sports and himself for their trip to England, where they attended a Wimbledon match in July.
Additionally, office executive Mahmud Alam, who has been involved with the federation since 1997, was terminated in August because he was not helping the federation, disobeying instructions from the general secretary, violating the laws of accommodation and trying to influence the higher-ups.
Mahmud had apparently refused to sign any final documents put forward by the general secretary as Murshed allegedly went against the norms. The federation also drove out caretaker Abdul Latif from his accommodations within the federation.
With Alam and Latif displaced, the career of Latif’s son, under-14 champion Mehdi Hasan Alvee, and that of Alam’s daughter, under-14 champion Masfia Afrin, are under threat.
However, Murshed has denied all the allegations brought against him.
“All it has done is tarnish my image because we have a small budget which is met through the NSC, sponsors and international organisations and we have every record of our expenditures. You can come and see the documents,” said Murshed, who also denied having withdrawn money to watch a Wimbledon match.
In response to a query, Murshed said that Alvee’s and Afrin’s careers would not be affected by the loss of their accommodations as both of them will still have the opportunity to use the facilities like any other local player.