Nepali Cricket’s Fiscal Fitness

A fortnight plus ago, a notice appeared on the sports page of a national daily, from Cricket Association of Nepal. The national cricket body had demanded the people and some organizations that have not cleared the advance payment taken from its coffers, to cough up the money or to clear their account.

It carried a warning that the legal route would be taken, if the accounts were not cleared by these people and organizations, within a fortnight. A fortnight has already passed and not many – apart from a few – showed intent to clear the due.

The effort to clear the balance sheet should be considered a regular process, and the cricket body deserves some credit for the initiative. Incidentally, this was the first ever public notice (barring few news items over the years ‘leaking’ such information) issued by CAN in this regard. Financial transparency is one of the basic requirements that an organization needs, if it wants to develop and be sustainable.

The CAN Notice, as it appeared in Nagarik Daily...
The CAN Notice, as it appeared in Nagarik Daily…

Interestingly, some of the persons not clearing their account are members of CAN Executive body. Some past, some present. That doesn’t make a happy reading, if you are concerned with Nepali cricket’s development. Some of these have uncleared transactions amounting to 1.4 million rupees from a single person, which has come over the years. The names include people like Diwakar Ghale, Kiran Rana and Thakur Pratap Thapa, who have been associated with cricket in some capacity or the other for a long time now.

This doesn’t seem right. Despite the notice (read: warning), the applications to clear the dues amount to Rs 800 thousand. A meagre 10 percent from the total amount of around 8 million rupees uncleared. Imagine what it can do to an organization. And most of those who rank high in the list of not clearing their dues have been ‘serving’ cricket for over a decade, or close. Some of them often say, in public, that CAN is an organization with a small coffer. Now we know why.

We don’t need to get into detail of what lack of transparency, especially in finance, does to the organization. Simply put, it kills, or at least, cripples the organization. Cricket Association of Nepal is a non-profit organization, and like every other non-profits in the world, it seems to have arrived late to the realization that transparency is needed. World over, we have seen that the non-profits need a lot of coaxing and kicking and screaming to realize why every paisa spent should be accounted. But then, it should be realized that being a member of the cricket body is a public post, where accountability is the minimum we ask for. You have to be answerable to people. Imagine you making a donation to a charity and realize that the charity members organized a party from that money. Similarly, CAN runs on money provided by ACC/ICC and the government (or sponsors). And under no circumstance, ACC or ICC or the government or the sponsors would be happy to learn that the money they spent did not go into development.

In the global environment, where ultra transparency is demanded, where you know how your single rupee would be spent before even making the donation, this is baffling. You could also make a case saying the CAN members are not paid staff, but that would be an excuse. Nothing has stopped it from adopting a professional set-up, where the administrative body would be answerable to the elected executive body. But then, that argument would fail here, since those who are guilty are the people who were ‘elected’ to their respective post. And some of the irregularities that need to be settled are a decade old. For example, a company Red Stone International, which is in the black list, was involved in bringing pitch rollers for TU cricket ground in 2003-4. The rollers were found to be substandard and ACC had reprimanded CAN on the issue. A decade and no action yet…

It doesn’t make you happy that the cricketers on CAN payroll have not received their salary for 6-7 months, but those who have embezzled CAN money continue to ‘serve’ cricket. Well, the good part is, campaign ‘fiscal fitness’ has begun.

PS: This write-up appeared in yours truly’s weekly column in The Kathmandu Post – OFFSIDE – on 10th August 2013

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