KARATE It never rains but pours at the embattled Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) led by President, Tshepo Bathai after his leadership is once again put to the test. Following a tumultuos last two years at the helm of the BOKA, more trouble seems to be brewing for the resilient leadership of the association, as their latest adversary comes from halfway across the world. Documents leaked to BG Sport this week, come as no surprise as they suggest that the BOKA committee has been mismanaging some internal operations at the association, which is further aiding cracks and divisions within his association.
Dubai, UAE based BOKA affiliate, Riaz Imran Ahmed Marguso of Hayashi ha Shito has recently written a damning letter to the Botswana National Sports Commission Chief Executive, Officer Tuelo Serufho, accusing BOKA of maladministration among a litany of other accusations. Part of Marguso letter dated 20th May 2022, accuses the BOKA leadership of failure to submit his application with the World Karate Association by BOKA. “Sometime in June 2021, I submitted my request for a World Karate Federation
Dan Certificate with the Association for onward transmission to the WKF. The President of the Association acknowledged receipt of my request and later, after inquisition, informed me that he had forwarded my request to WKF.” The aggrieved Marguso, a third dan black belt further states: “When I did a follow up with WFK regarding my request I was advised that my request had not been submitted by the Association. I confronted the President of the Association regarding the issue and to date he has been taking me from pillar to post with endless excuses for having failed to submit my request.”
Having to resort to other avenues with BOKA, Marguso said he eventually lodged a complaint with the Disciplinary Commission as per Clause 10.7 of the BOKA Constitution, through the Association's Public Relations officer, for action to be taken against the President and nothing was done, not even to call a meeting to have the issue unpacked and addressed. The letter which is copied to World Karate Federation (WKF), Union of African Karate Federations (UFAK) AUSC Region 5 and Karate Federation, Commonwealth Karate further accuses BOKA of failing to pay suppliers timeously.
“On numerous occasions requests were made by the Association for the supply of certain regalia or products, and upon submission of invoices for purposes of payment, the President of the Association would either refuse for payment to be made or delay without just cause to effect payment.” Marguso further argues that this is a practice done by the President to frustrate some suppliers in order to rope in his preferred suppliers. "The past BOKA elections held at Kgogomodumo Lodge in Kanye on the 17th of April 2021 were marred with controversy and irregularities that disenfranchised some members and tipped the scale in favor of one camp even before the polling occurred.”
The letter goes as far as recommending that a commission of inquiry be set up at BOKA to address the gross irregularities occurring at the association. Marguso’s letter was replied by the BNSC on 20th May 2022. Signed by the BNSC CEO, Tuelo Serufho, the response reads: “We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 20th May 2022 regarding the above matter. We have notified the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) of the complaint and requested a response to the allegation as particularised in your letter.” Furthermore, the BNSC stated that it will revert to the author in due course. "Please note this should not suggest that we are taking responsibility for the resolution of your dispute with BOKA. And ad such, we may not be added as respondents to any legal matter that may ensue. Ours is but an attempt to assist with the resolution of the dispute.”
Meanwhile, through his company, Fine Logic Holdings, Marguso has served BOKA with court papers on 13 May 2022. "Be pleased to take notice that I intend at the expiry of 7 days on receipt hereof, to make an application to the Small Claims Court of Botswana. This comes after BOKA allegedly failed to pay Fine Logic Holding PTY Ltd after being supplied with Karate passport booklets. “You are advised that no payment settlement was reached and that BOKA would make full payment in the sum of P 3, 825.00, invoice Number; FINE08/11/203, for the sold booklets.
Therefore cash on delivery was to apply as indicated on the invoice,” court document signed by Marguso reads. Reached for comment on the leaked documents pertaining to irregularities at BOKA, Marguso refused to make any further comments.
On 2nd June 2022, BOKA replied the BNSC's letter.
“Botswana Karate Association has long taken a resolution that only National Team and its entourage will benefit from license books and certifications issued by AUSC Region 5 Karate Federation, UFAK, World Karate Federation and Commonwealth Karate Federation. It is against this background that we find it difficult to apply for WKF Black Belt for someone who has never been active at BOKA and is residing abroad.”
The response letter signed by BOKA Secretary General, Karabo Samuel states: “There is also an allegation of late payment of suppliers. We are constrained to comment on this issue because the author did not mention any supplier (company names).”
The letter continues: “On the issue of elections, we advise the author to route his concern through a BOKA member affiliate and address the issue to the Registrar of Societies, who has accepted the outcomes of the AGM. This issue has long been addressed to BNSC and we also had BNSC representatives at the said AGM.”