THE National Police have arrested the Muhanga District Executive Secretary Celse Gasana who also doubles as the president of AS Muhanga football club for allegedly issuing bounced cheques to club players and officials.
The arrest comes a month after Police launched investigations last month after AS Muhanga’s failure to turn up for their last game of the 2013/14 Turbo King Football League season against champions APR. The club is sponsored by the Southern Province district of Muhanga.
The Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Hubert Gashagaza confirmed the development, saying that he is being arrested as investigation proceeds.
“We are interrogating the club officials over bounced cheques after players brought the matter to the attention of the Police. We are carrying out investigations to get to the bottom of the issue.”
“He is in custody and investigations will proceed when he is behind bars,”
We think it’s a criminal offense and this is why we have intervened,” said Gashagaza.
Besides Gasana, police is also investigating the club’s Treasurer Innocent Gashugi who is also in charge of Youth affairs in the district.
When investigations are concluded, the file will be sent to the prosecution. According to the penal code, the penalty for issuing a bounced cheque is 2 to 5 years in jail.
AS Muhanga players and technical staff took the matter to the Police after failed attempts to get their recruitment fees and salary arrears amounting to Rwf 30m from the district.
“AS Muhanga owes us a total of Rwf 18m in unpaid recruitment fees which was supposed to be paid two seasons ago (2012/13 season). The club committee tried to lure players by giving them cheques in July, 2013 which were meant to be cashed a month after,”
“But by August, 2013, the club authorities had not deposited the money on the players’ accounts as promised. The situation got worse in April this year, when players spent 4 months without getting salaries, a feat which forced them to seek Police intervention,” said head coach Ali Bizimungu.
Muhanga district earmarks Rwf60m in its annual budget to run the club.
The crisis at the Southern Province based club is largely blamed for its relegation from the First Division as the team finished with only 18 points in 26 matches last season.
The club was relegated to the second division tier alongside Esperance who finished 13th with 21 points.