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Moses Magogo: Guilty or innocent? What next after suspension

By Shafic Kiyaga
Embattled: FUFA President Moses Magogo

Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) President and Member of the Confederation of African Football Association (CAF) Executive Committee Moses Hassim Magogo was last week suspended for two months and slapped with a Swiss Francs 10,000 (approx. UGX 37 million).

The crime, was his alleged involvement in the illegal resale of 2014 FIFA World Cup tickets, held in Brazil that were meant to be sold to Ugandans, something that is contrary to the FIFA rules.

In May 2017, Makindye East member of Parliament and journalist, Allan Ssewanyana petitioned FIFA’s Ethics and Integrity Committee, about the fraudulent and corrupt dealings within FUFA, especially regarding the sale of the 2014 tickets to non-Ugandans.

According to Ssewanyana, Magogo through his agent Ms. Peninah Kabenge Aligaweesa sold approximately 126 tickets to USA based Howard Scwartz, for which he received $40,000 (approx. UGX 146 million).

An investigation into the case was opened by the FIFA Ethics Committee into the matter on 23rd July 2018. Before a decision was ousted on last week on 10th October.

But before Magogo stepped aside from the office of the President, he made one last cry out to the football fellows.

“The catholic church will protect the pope, but sadly in football, we allow the heads to suffer the wrath.”

Perhaps an early call out to football stakeholders to provide an umbrella, as he feared the worst for what was to come from the investigations into the 2017 case. And one that the fellows in his circles have taken on in full swing.

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Is Magogo Guilty or Innocent?

On 28th September, Magogo announced that he was to step aside for two months to facilitate investigations into the case and barely two weeks later, he is suspended; and for how long? Two months.

Coincidence maybe, maybe not if you take into account how the decision was reached. 

According to the FIFA statement, Magogo entered into a plea bargain with the independent Ethics Committee.

According to www.lawfirms.com, A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead “guilty” to some charges, along with possible conditions, such as a reduction of the severity of the charges, dismissal of some of the charges, or some other benefit to the defendant.

Going by the definition, Magogo was guilty of the wrong doing and therefore quickly sought a way out which would perhaps suit him and his future ambitions in football.

And luckily for him, he has someone who can still argue out his case even when it is clear for even the blind to see that the President is liable for the offence.

According to the head of Legal affairs at Mengo, Mr. Denis Lukambi, the President was a victim of an anomaly within the federation’s system of selling the world cup tickets which stems from the 2006 and 2010 campaigns.

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“If FIFA are to open investigations into the events of 2006 and 2010, then the federation and the people in charge then will be held accountable, but we have learnt our mistake since and have rectified it for 2018,” Lukambi said during NBS TV’s The Score sports show.  

Lukambi further stresses that FIFA regulations stipulate that specific details of the individuals that purchase the tickets from FUFA are supposed to be taken for purposes of accountability a process FUFA neglected.

But according to the learned fellow, the president was not guilty of the other cases and allegations against him which include corruption, fraud and embezzlement of funds among over 15 cases initially reported to FIFA.

Because, according to Article 67, par. 6 of the FIFA code of Ethics regulations which states “No plea agreement shall be allowed concerning sanctions related to infringements of bribery and corruption, misappropriation and misuse of funds, and manipulation of football matches or competitions”.

What next for Magogo

Magogo is expected to return to office on Tuesday 10th December 2019, after the completion of his two months suspension plus paying off any other fines, as well as fulfilling any other sanctions that were passed in line with the ruling.

Ssewanyana has recently stated that the Director of Criminal Investigations of the Uganda Police has called him to answer a few questions about the case he reported to FIFA. Whether Police will open further investigations into FUFA remains to be seen.

The qualified engineer has also shown interest to run for the parliamentary seat of Budiope East Constituency, and is highly tipped to emerge victor as he is largely adored by the residents of the area.

And still, he can run for another term to be voted as the FUFA president, because he was not convicted of any crime which would automatically put him out of contention for the top seat at FUFA.

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