Zifagate scandal

BY HENRY MHARA

FRESH details have emerged of how former Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa allegedly milked thousands of dollars from the broke association through leasing the Zifa Village to his company Hansporte Investments.

Information at hand shows that the local footballing body was paying him money for accommodation every time a national team was camped at its own facility.

Chiyangwa was the president of the association until last December when he was dislodged by Felton Kamambo in an election.

This publication and our sister paper The Zimbabwe Independent, last week ran stories exposing how Chiyangwa could have embezzled thousands of dollars from Zifa through fraud and corruption, including one transaction in which the flamboyant businessman withdrew US$30 000 from a Zifa nostro account, months after he had ceased to be an official, in addition to using Zifa money to fund his lavish birthday party in 2017.

The bill for the celebrations, held in Harare and was attended by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, was in excess of US$100 000.

The new Zifa executive has since reported Chiyangwa to the police on the allegations and numerous others. He is refuting the accusations.

Zifa was reeling under a US$6 million debt when Chiyangwa came into office. When he left, the debt had ballooned to over US$8 million.

Official documents seen by NewsDaySport yesterday indicate that Chiyangwa caused Zifa to sign a lease agreement with his company Hansporte Investments as a way to evade paying creditors.

Chiyangwa, the documents show, then picked his company Hansporte, to be the lessee, an agreement which he later used to loot funds from the association.

Information shows that Hansporte did not pay a cent in rentals to the association, but Chiyangwa would cause Zifa to pay his company whenever the football mother body used the facility.

Hansporte on several occasions invoiced Zifa for thousands of dollars for the use of the Zifa Village, including for national team camps.

On April 6, 2017, Hansporte billed Zifa US$8 400 for “tournament expenses, ground hire, meals, accommodation, fuels and accommodation hire”, an amount which was paid in full.

On November 28, 2017, Zifa also paid US$8 575 to Hansporte for accommodation and meals for the Under-20 national team which had camped at the Zifa Village. Chiyangwa personally authorised the payment of this invoice.

Zifa also paid to accommodate their councillors every time they went to the Village for meetings.

There was also another payment of US$3 150 to Hansporte on August 13, 2017 for the Young Mighty Warriors camp.

“So what it means is Zifa was paying money to Hansporte to use its own premises,” a source said yesterday
The documents also show that there were other irregular payments that were made to Hansporte by Zifa, involving huge amounts.

Chiyangwa personally authorised a payment of US$140 000 to Hansporte on November 14, 2017 as a “loan repayment on various teams’ expenses”.

Chiyangwa also awarded his company a contract to carry out renovations at the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden, without going to tender. Investigations show that Hansporte was paid US$50 000 on November 18, 2016, for the renovations and building of a swimming pool at the village. To date, the firm has not finished building the pool.

Hansporte was also given a tender to refurbish Zifa’s headquarters at 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare and got paid US$39 687.

Through its lawyers, Ngarava, Moyo and Chikono, Zifa reported its former boss to the Commercial Crimes Unit at Harare Central Police Station on November 20. The case’s docket reference number is 42/11/19.

It’s almost a month now since the allegations were reported, but Chiyangwa has not been called by the police for questioning.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they are still investigating, claiming that “certain cases require expert evidence”.

Chiyangwa is refuting the allegations, claiming that he actually poured millions of dollars to keep the association going.

When the new Zifa executive asked him to account for the money, Chiyangwa pressed charges against Kamambo and his deputy Philemon Machana after the two sent him text messages over what he had taken from Zifa. He said the texts caused him “annoyance.”

Kamambo and Machana were arrested and appeared in court on the same day that Chiyangwa pressed the charges.

Chiyangwa has also since written to Zifa lawyers, threatening to sue for reporting him to the police on behalf of the association.

Source :

NewsDay

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