By Nyore Madzianike
Four top Zifa board members moved US$740 000 from Zifa’s nostro account into the bank account of a private company belonging to one of them in 2019, allegedly to block a debtor using a court-issued garnishee order grabbing a small fraction of the cash, US$161 762, out of the accounts.
Yesterday Zimbabwe Football Association president Felton Kamambo and his three fellow governing board members Phillimon Machana, Farai Jere and Briton Malandule, appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna charged with obstructing the course of justice.
Kamambo, Machana, Jere and Malandule are alleged to have agreed to transfer the money from ZIFA’s nostro account with Ecobank and hide it in an account held by Conduit Investments, a company owned by Machana, in a bid to evade settling the US$161 762 debt owed to Daisy Guest House (Pvt) Limited.
They also allegedly resolved to open four new accounts which they would use to receive funds channelled by FIFA and CAF for soccer development until ZIFA had managed to settle the debt.
Already Daisy and the authorities had been having problems because the original garnishee order was on Steward Bank accounts, that were empty, and Ecobank could not release the funds until its name was on the order.
Through their lawyers, the quartet, demanded the State to furnish them with copies of the garnishee order relating to ZIFA’s Ecobank account before January 25, 2019, which barred them from removing the money.
When in court yesterday the four asked the State to provide details as to when it alleges each of them were served or notified of the garnishee order and also for an explanation of how the State comes to the conclusion that the money when it was in Ecobank were funds subject to the garnishee order since the order was for Steward Bank accounts, that were empty.
The State promised to have the documents ready before the four return to court on Thursday next week.
Daisy Guest House started the long process of getting its money off Zifa in 2016, winning on November 23, 2016, a High Court order for Zifa to pay this debt. Zifa did not pay, said Mrs Tendai Shonhai and Mr Tafara Chirambira for the State.
Almost two years later, on October 15, 2018, Daisy Guest House obtained a garnishee order from the High Court against ZIFA’s two Steward Bank accounts. Armed with the garnishee order, on November 21, 2018, the Sheriff of the High Court approached Steward Bank to effect the judicial attachments.
The State alleges that the Sheriff was told that ZIFA had no money in the two Steward Bank accounts and he decided to proceed to Ecobank Borrowdale Branch on the following day where he had reason to believe the money now was.
But the Sheriff failed to garnish the accounts after Ecobank told him that the order was directed to Steward Bank, not them, and so they could not let him collect the money.
A couple of months later, on January 25, 2019, Kamambo, Machana, Jere and Malandule heard that the Sherriff wanted to garnish the Ecobank account over the Daisy Guest House debt.
They then allegedly held an emergency meeting where they resolved to transfer US$740 270 held in its two Ecobank accounts into Machana’s company’s bank account.
It is the State’s case that the four resolved that money received from FIFA for football development be temporarily transferred into Conduit Investment account as a precaution until the Daisy Guest House debt was cleared.
The State alleges that new bank accounts were opened with Ecobank: two nostro, one FAP and two RTGS and that FIFA, CAF and other stakeholders be informed of these new banking details.
Kamambo and his team allegedly agreed that the money was to be transferred into new ZIFA accounts with Ecobank as soon as these has been opened. The Herald