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Asiagate match fixing scandal hearings begin

By Daniel Nemukuyu

HARARE- Investigations into the Asiagate scandal are complete and the Zifa Independent Ethics Committee is today expected to start conducting hearings of those who will be charged.

Nyasha Mushekwi is one of the foreign-based players who are expected in the country for the Asiagate hearings
Nyasha Mushekwi is one of the foreign-based players who are expected in the country for the Asiagate hearings

The committee will also name players, officials and others who will be hauled before it. The prosecution, according to reliable sources, was ready to conduct the hearings after interviewing about 90 players and football officials.

Chief prosecutor for the committee Advocate Lewis Uriri is expected to start by officially announcing the names of those who will be charged. Advocates Zvikomborero Chadambuka and Deepak Mehta are assisting Adv Uriri.

Names of those who have been exonerated for lack of evidence will also be announced with reasons. The Herald understands that Zifa had booked a venue for the announcement of the names and the hearing proceedings over a period of three weeks at Alexandra Sport Club with effect from today.

An impeccable source said everything was in place, but the committee was likely to move the date from today to later this week to ensure the presence of 18 foreign-based players.

“Zifa has booked a place at Alex Sports Club for the hearings. The bookings are for three weeks from tomorrow. That is the agreed venue for the hearings and all the 90 people interviewed should be present for the announcements.

“Security is already in place and there will be limited access to the proceedings. Chances are that the programme might be pushed to a later date this week considering that some 15 people are in South Africa, one in Mozambique, one in Swaziland and another one in France.

“But if there will be any postponement, it will be done tomorrow (today),” said the source. Chairman of the Ethics Committee Retired Justice Ahmed Ibrahim could only say the hearings were “closer” without giving details.

“We are getting closer but possibly the hearings will not be tomorrow,” said Justice Ibrahim. However, the source said there were three categories of charges for the players.

“There are three categories of people who will be charged — active participants, passive participants and those who were grossly negligent,” the source said. The Herald understands that when hearings start, the sessions will run during the day until late in the night for three weeks.

Foreign-based players who are expected in the country include Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali, Lionnel Mutizwa, Thomas Sweswe, Energy Murambadoro, Justice Majabvi, Kingstone Nkata, Tafadzwa Rusike and coach Sunday Chidzambwa.

All along, the committee had been calling the players and others linked to the case for interviews. They would each give their side of the story concerning the match-fixing allegations.

Basing on information released during the interviews, the prosecution was expected to analyse each testimony and determine who should be charged and who should be exonerated.

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