Robson Sharuko in HARARE and Sikhumbuzo Moyo in BULAWAYO
THE ZIFA board was rocked yesterday after it emerged that their Secretariat sent a doctored income and expenditure statement from the Nations Cup qualifier between Zimbabwe and Guinea to the Sports Commission to try and conceal questionable transactions related to funds generated from gate receipts.
The latest revelations are likely to put ZIFA on a collision course with the Sports Commission, while piling the pressure on the Association Board, led by Cuthbert Dube, which faces a recall by disgruntled councillors next Saturday.
Stunning details of the letter that ZIFA wrote to FIFA, trying to persuade the world football governing body to cancel the meeting set for next Saturday, a move which the Zurich authorities rejected, have also emerged.
The letter was written to FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke on August 17, before he was suspended, and was dubbed “Machinations around the ZIFA Assembly’s General Meeting On 3 October 2015,” and said there were forces who were trying to push out Dube.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association Board met on 14th August 2015 and resolved to engage FIFA ahead of the ZIFA Assembly’s Extraordinary General Meeting set for 3 October 2015,” the letter reads.
“The Board would like to bring to your attention the following issues:
1) The Extraordinary General Meeting set for 3 October 2015 is driven by the following groups:
a) The suspended Board Members namely Mr Omega Sibanda, Vice-President, Mrs Miriam Sibanda, Zimbabwe Women Football Chairperson and Mr Bernard Gwarada, ZIFA Board Member in charge of Finance are behind the regime change agenda. The three (3) have been pushing for the ouster of the ZIFA president, Dr Cuthbert Dube, because their preferred candidate lost to Dr Cuthbert Dube during the 2014 elections. They have also been opposed to the re-election of the FIFA President, Mr Joseph Sepp Blatter. The three Board Members have roped in some political groups and disgraced former ZIFA officials to effect regime change in ZIFA.
b) Some former ZIFA Officials who fell from grace, either through corrupt practices, have joined the bandwagon fighting for regime change maladministration. One Vincent Pamire, former Vice Chairman of the Association, has recruited some officials of the Association who were banned in 2004 for staging a coup. Mr Pamire, who has a pending case in the courts, has been very critical of the current ZIFA leadership, without offering any solutions whatsoever.
c) Some former employees of the Association, led by one Lazarus Mhurushomana, who served ZIFA for close to thirty years, have also thrown their weight behind the regime change architects. Mr Mhurushomana was retrenched in 2004 and he has, despite receiving his retrenchment package, taken ZIFA to court. He has recruited some former employees of the Association who were fired from ZIFA for corruption, maladministration and incompetence.
d) Some politicians have openly called for the ZIFA President to be removed. The politicians in question have been to Parliament calling for the ZIFA Assembly to remove the Board. The politicians have also been holding meetings with all groups opposed to the current leadership.
There is an inquiry on the state of football in Zimbabwe underway, being carried out by the Sports and Recreation Commission, and the findings have since been produced. The inquiry has its own shortcomings as it was reduced to some street survey with the ZIFA Board/Executive given written submissions to respond to. The ZIFA Board is yet to meet the inquiry team. There is no doubt as to the intended purpose of having the inquiry given that some of the officials at the Sports and Recreation Commission have been inciting the ZIFA Assembly to cause regime charge.
The Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture has acknowledged in public that the problems at ZIFA are to do with a harsh operating environment berefet of basic resources. The Association is broke and has had to depend on the benevolence of the ZIFA President, Dr Cuthbert Dube, who has paid out close to a million dollars from his personal resources.
Those calling for Dr Dube’s ouster should be prepared to make good all that is owed by a broke institution, whose leaders are aware that the problems at ZIFA are not only unique to the Football Association. There is a general economic slump in Zimbabwe which requires long-term national solutions. Without Dr Dube’s financial assistance to ZIFA, there would have (been) no football in Zimbabwe right now.
The 3 October 2015 meeting’s agenda item for ‘revocation of the mandate of the ZIFA President and Board is a ‘vote of no confidence’ disguised as such and wise counsel advises us that it is a clause which is no longer in our statutes and certainly not in the best interests of Zimbabwe football.
We request that the interpretation of Clause 22 (n) be placed before the FIFA Legal Committee before the clause is used to oust a constitutionally elected Board. Our advice is that the clause is being used to have the same effect as the old ‘no confidence clause’ which used to be in the old ZIFA Constitution. Dr Dube won by 76 percent in last year’s presidential elections.”
ZIFA appealed to Valcke to respond to them before the October 3 meeting and even accused 12 Councillors, who were banned and later had their bans overturned, of leading the bid to overthrow the Board.
The Herald revealed yesterday that the appeal by ZIFA for FIFA to postpone the meeting has been turned down.
It also emerged that the audit results, which have since been presented to Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane, were from a completely different income and expenditure statement from the one ZIFA presented to the nation.
The statement presented to the SRC’s audit team shows that $9 881 from the match proceeds was used to pay outstanding staff salaries.
It was also presented to the country’s supreme sports body that $840 was used towards payment of transport hired by the Zimbabwe Women Football with a further $150 used to buy groceries for Mighty Warriors.
Despite spirited denials that its board members were paid after the match, the income and expenditure statement presented to the SRC’s audit team led by Patience Kabanda, corporate affairs director in the commission, showed that $2 800 was actually paid to Board Members as board expenses.
All these figures do not appear in the initial income and expenditure statement which ZIFA released to the public on September 8 through its communications department.
Quite curiously, the financial statement is no longer appearing on the association’s official website.
“You mean we were presented with doctored income and expenditure statement,” a stunned SRC board chairman Edward Siwela asked yesterday before requesting to see the initial statement which ZIFA released.
Speaking before he was told that the statement he was holding could have been doctored, Siwela said it was incorrect for ZIFA to declare the match a loss on the basis of some expenses that were not directly from the match.
ZIFA, who realised $88 542 from the gate takings, declared a loss of $12 481.
“For example the income and expenditure statement which they (ZIFA) gave to us has, under staff welfare and in brackets salaries column, $9 881.
“We also have $2 800 under board expenses and a column for bus hire-ZWF- has $840 and also $150 for grovery-ZWF, all these expenses have nothing to do with the match in question’s expenses,” said Siwela.
He said the $3 000 which ZIFA said was for a bus hire for an unnamed transporter was not appearing on the income and expenditure statement given to them by ZIFA for audit.
ZIFA employees yesterday strenuously denied that they were paid their outstanding salaries after the afcon match and Siwela said he could not comment on whether his audit team demanded proof of payment by ZIFA.
“Unfortunately I was not part of the team that audited the books, as a Commission we have a department that we believe is manned by experts in that field so I would not want to question how they did their work,” said Siwela.
It also does not need a rocket scientist to tell that expenses for a board member residing outside Harare cannot certainly be equal to those of a board member staying in the capital.