Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zifa scandal exposed

By Daniel Nhakaniso | Zimbabwe Standard |

The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has made damning corruption allegations against the Zifa board, accusing the Felton Kamambo-led football association of gross incompetence, mismanagement and laundering of Fifa funds meant for the development of the local game.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo

The allegations are contained in a scathing letter written by SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa to the Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura last week, seeking permission to remove the entire Zifa leadership from office and replace it with a normalisation committee.

Mlotshwa said the local sport regulatory body was concerned at the manner in which the game of football was being administered in the country.

This comes after the controversies which stalked the Warriors and Mighty Warriors’ recent participation at the Afcon and Cosafa tournaments respectively and the never-ending allegations of mismanagement of funds.

“No doubt, Fifa will be aware of the many controversies surrounding the administration of the game of football in Zimbabwe. Indeed matters were brought to the fore most recently in the build-up and aftermath of the national men’s side, ‘The Warriors’ participation at the Afcon held in Egypt,” Mlotshwa said.

“The allegations of financial mismanagement arising therefrom, including the possible laundering of monies received from Fifa, through a private company account, caused SRC to consider that these many allegations gave rise to a prima facie case of, at the very least, gross incompetence on the part of Zifa.”

The prominent Harare lawyer said the SRC was concerned with how Fifa funds had allegedly been diverted to a private company account reportedly belonging to one of the association’s board members.

According to Mlotshwa, the Zifa board has failed to provide the SRC with detailed answers to many of the allegations levelled against them, despite requesting for an extension of the deadline when the statutory body wrote to the football association on July 3 demanding answers.

“It is simply unacceptable that Fifa monies are diverted to a private company account, violating the rules and anti-money laundering laws of Zimbabwe under the guise of avoiding creditors and court orders,” he said.

“You will readily agree that the contemptuous failure by Zifa to account for the use of Fifa funds as well as Zimbabwean taxpayers’ monies is exceptionally astounding, and in terms of the SRC Act, unlawful.”

“The SRC, subject to Fifa’s position on the matter, is prepared to proceed and suspend the entire Zifa board in terms of its own SRC Act nonetheless, should this be the agreed position with yourselves.”

Mlotshwa said although the SRC board, according to Section 30 (1) (c) of the SRC Act, have the authority to remove part, or the entire Zifa leadership from office, they were asking the world football governing body to provide the intervention in line with football statutes.

“In terms of Section 30(c)(i), the SRC having already afforded Zifa the opportunity of making written presentations to it, may suspend all or any of Zifa’s officers, and in terms of Section 30(2), recommend to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, the appointment of an interim committee to administer the affairs of Zifa.

“However, it is noted that Article (B)(2) of the general provisions of the Fifa statutes, contains similar disciplinary provisions, to quote:-

“The executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time.”

The SRC said it had already identified possible candidates for the normalisation committee which they hope “will bring sanity, transparency and accountability to the administration of football in Zimbabwe”.

“It is in this respect that the SRC kindly requests Fifa to remove from office the entirety of the Zifa board, including the secretary-general thereof, and replace it with a normalisation committee charged with bringing sanity, transparency and accountability to the administration of football in Zimbabwe.

“If it should please Fifa, the SRC already has possible candidates for such a normalisation committee. The present manner in which the game is being administered, particularly the men and women national teams, is no better than a badly managed circus,” Mlotshwa said.