By Enock Muchinjo
HARARE – Finer details have emerged on how local organisers of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal dealt with the Asian betting syndicates during several trips to the Far East between 2007 and 2009.
The Daily News is in a possession of a compilation of email exchanges between jailed Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal and sacked Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya during the period under review.
The documents also show email exchanges between former Fifa programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana and other match fixers trying to organise matches even after the Asiagate scandal had exploded.
The documents were gleaned from a source close to Fifa’s global match-fixing unit, which operates under the world football governing body’s security department. Rushwaya was however, acquitted of match-fixing and five other charges by the Harare magistrate courts last month.
The emails contain details of a UK offshore account, belonging to a relative of Rushwaya, in which some of the money was allegedly deposited. In the dossier, Fifa also questions how Rushwaya rose from a mere Masters student at the Norwegian University of Sports Science to become the most powerful person in Zimbabwean football.
In one email to a relative Langa Khumalo in 2005, Rushwaya reveals her ambition to return home to take up a job as the boss at the Sports and Recreation Commission, the country’s supreme sports regulatory body.
“I need to familiarise myself with on-goings at SRC before the current boss leaves. Guhwa remu Zanu rinoti tete might take over as director-general kana (Elias) Musangeya aenda. Saka motogadzirira kugara mu VIP ku National Sports Stadium kana tete votonga.” (The rumour in Zanu PF is that I will take over as SRC director-general so be prepared for VIP treatment at the National Sports Stadium when I take charge).
On June 30 2005, she wrote to Brave Rusike, a relative, requesting him to make an arrangement with retired brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze to pick her up at the airport upon her return home from her studies.
“Ndakavaudza kuti ndine bag rine chimoto randoda kuti vazotora mundege….Bag rangu rinenge rine forex yakapenga,” she wrote on June 30, 2005. (I told him to pick my bag full of cash from the plane).
The Asiagate saga also indirectly names Fifa president Sepp Blatter after one Laurent Dialo, who claimed to represent Blatter, wrote to Rushwaya last year well after the Asiagate scandal was unearthed.
Dialo, in one of the emails to Rushwaya, claims that some of the details in Zifa’s damning internal report on the Asiagate match-fixing scandal had caused discomfort to Blatter.
“My name is Laurent Dialo and I work for the Fifa president, managing his private football business and I am responsible of making sure everything is OK with his office. Recently, there has been a problem with Zimbabwe’s investigations into alleged match-fixing and in the report are some submissions that have caused Mr President serious problems with sponsors of the World Cup.
“For this reason, Mr Valcke tasked me, and gave me your personal addressing (sic), advising that you are the only person at the moment who can help with some information we need. What attracted this move to ask you, are some reports that appeared in Zimbabwe newspapers, particularly three articles written by a reporter called……(name withheld) disputing the veracity of some parts of the report.
“The issue is we know journalists can be a problem, so we have to deal with them carefully and that is where we need your help as Mr (Jerome) Valcke (Fifa general secretary), said you worked well with journalists, especially the senior ones. Can you find out if he is willing to speak to us? The major sponsors of Fifa want explanations on some of the submissions and Fifa are awaiting independent information before they can take any action against Zifa.
“Mr Valcke told me that you can be reliable. If you have a good relationship with him, please offer him some money to quicken the process. BUT treat this with utmost confidentiality because it is very sensitive and important.”
Former Zifa programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana, who was sacked alongside Rushwaya in 2010, also features prominently in the shady deals. One email from a suspected Asian bookmaker to Musavengana says in broken English:
“Hi bro, how are yu any god news I am going to India today i will try to ged some bissnes in football and daimont ok. jesan boss is in overseas he will be back in three to four days more,he will arrange everything for you by next week. sorry.”
Musavengana was also named in the Asigate report as one of the fixing chief architects. Daily News