Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zifa VP loses $53k claim

By Omega Sibanda

The High Court in Bulawayo dismissed with costs a $53 000 claim by Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda against FC Platinum and businessman Worthwhile Mugabe.

Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa, left, stresses a point during a press conference while his deputy Omega Sibanda looks on
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa, left, stresses a point during a press conference while his deputy Omega Sibanda looks on

Sibanda dragged the cash-flush platinum miners to court seeking to recover $53 000 for “professional services rendered in providing consultancy services, recruitment of players and coaches”.

The Zifa vice-president also wanted The Moneybags, as FC Platinum are affectionately known, to pay him for friendly matches, drafting contracts and letters between October 2010 and May 2011.

Sibanda was trading as Links International before he was elected Zifa vice-president.

He wanted FC Platinum and Mugabe to pay the $53 000 claim with interest from June 1, 2011, as well as cover the costs of the suit.

In their defence, FC Platinum vehemently denied ever engaging Sibanda, adding that he “played a role in player transfers on behalf of players themselves as a player agent and never as an agent of FC Platinum”.

They said Sibanda should have claimed compensation from the players he represented.

FC Platinum also refuted claims that Sibanda assisted them with rebranding, launching the club or writing letters and contracts, saying that was done by their legal team in consultation with Zifa.

The Zvishavane-based side also denied Sibanda’s claims that he assisted the club to register with the Premier Soccer League, saying that they did not need a consultant.

Mugabe, an FC Platinum supporter, said Sibanda, whom he knew outside football circles, had approached him as a “friend” and requested that he be linked with FC Platinum’s management as a player agent.

He said Sibanda was seeking deals for possible transfers of his players or players that he represented.

In his final submission, Mugabe “prayed for the plaintiff’s (Sibanda) claim to be dismissed with costs”.

Dismissing Sibanda’s claims with costs in an eight-page judgment, which Chronicle Sport is in possession of, High Court Judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha said Sibanda had failed to present a strong case against FC Platinum and Mugabe.

“The plaintiff (Sibanda) did not call any witnesses to support his story but gave evidence himself for five days and closed his case.

“At the close of his case, the defendants (FC Platinum and Mugabe) applied for absolution from instance. They alleged that the plaintiff had failed to make out a prima facie case in his evidence in chief and under cross examination and re-examination,” Justice Kamocha said.

Justice Kamocha said Sibanda’s $53 000 claim was unjustified and had not spent that much in conducting the said duties.

“His evidence further fails to substantiate his claim of unjust enrichment. He unilaterally claimed a total figure of $53 000 which he had not spent at all. He therefore did not enrich FC Platinum at his expense and was not impoverished in anyway.”

Justice Kamocha said Sibanda claimed to be a consultant yet his claim was not based on consultancy fees.

“What he did was to inflate what was in player agent regulations but still wanted the court to believe that he worked as a consultant. That, however, was belied by all documentary evidence which revealed that he acted as a player agent.

“At the end of it all, it admits of no doubt that plaintiff acted as a player agent (sic). His claim that he did consultancy work is not supported by any evidence led in court.

“In the result, I find that the plaintiff (Sibanda) failed to make out a prima facie case when he closed his case. I would ipso facto (by that very fact) grant absolution from the instance with costs,” ruled Justice Kamocha. The Chronicle