Siwela faces contempt of court charges

Sports Reporter
SPORT and Recreation Commission chairman Edward Siwela could face contempt of court charges after it emerged he may have breached his bail conditions when he presided over the regulatory body’s board meeting on Monday.

The Sports Commission’s board met at the National Sports Stadium with the under fire duo of Siwela and acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere also in attendance.

Both Siwela and Muchechetere last week appeared at the Harare magistrates court where they were separately remanded to October 11 with part of their bail conditions directing that they should not interfere with witnesses.

Muchechetere has since resolved to go on a month-long leave starting tomorrow.

A defiant Siwela, however, chaired the meeting which was also attended by board members Clement Mukwasi, Titus Zvomuya, Lillian Mubaiwa, Nicholas Vingirai and Joseph Mungwari while the pair of John Falkenberg and James Goddard missed out.

Siwela last Friday appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing charges of criminal abuse of office emanating from a decision he made to increase board fees without Government approval.

According to the court papers, the 61-year-old Sports Commission boss allegedly raised the SRC board fees.

He was asked to pay $100 bail.

Siwela’s bail conditions also included that “he must surrender his passport, reside at his given residential address in Bluff Hill, Harare, report once every Friday at the Zimbabwe Republic Police station in Mabelreign and not to interfere with witnesses in this matter.”

Prosecuting, Sebastian Mutizirwa, alleged that in February 2012, Siwela who was the vice-chairperson of the SRC acting with fellow SRC board members, raised board allowances above those outlined by the Ministry of Finance’s Treasury circular minute number three of 2011.

Siwela and his accomplices in the matter allegedly did not seek Treasury approval.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Prince Mupazviriwo raised the complaint on behalf of the Government with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission moving in leading to Siwela being arrested and arraigned before the court.

Muchechetere was also remanded to October 11 with the 58-year-old administrator facing two counts, including that of criminal abuse of office.

But on Monday both men were at the Sports Commission’s offices with Siwela later presiding over a board meeting.

That his charges are centred on board allowances, with the board members being witnesses as recipients of the alleged increased payments, raises eyebrows and could land Siwela in trouble.

Sources also revealed that Siwela even vetoed a resolution which the board had made to institute their own investigations into Muchechetere’s conduct as acting director-general.

“During the deliberations, Muchechetere had tried to push the board to implement what he termed a long-standing resolution to dissolve the ZIFA board, but the board members were not interested and instead, asked that he recuse himself from the meeting.

“During the board’s deliberations they had resolved a probe should be carried out on the acting director-general with the board members voting 3-2 in favour of the move, but Siwela wielded his influence and blocked the move.

“Muchechetere, however, got wind of this decision and offered to go on leave for a month starting on 14 September, 2018,” the sources said.

It also emerged last night the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission would today continue with their probe into the Sports Commission saga with investigators expected to interview the rest of the Commission’s board  members.

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