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ZIFA bosses acquitted in US$740 000 case

By Nyore Madzianike

ZIFA leaders — Felton Kamambo, Phillimon Machana, Farai Jere and Bryton Malandule — were yesterday cleared of allegations of transferring judicial funds from the association’s bank nostro account into personal bank account belonging to one of them.

SIGH OF RELIEF . . . ZIFA leaders (from left) Phillimon Machana, Farai Jere and Felton Kamambo arrive at the Harare Magistrates court yesterday where they were cleared of allegations of transferring judicial funds. — Picture by Lee Maidza.
SIGH OF RELIEF . . . ZIFA leaders (from left) Phillimon Machana, Farai Jere and Felton Kamambo arrive at the Harare Magistrates court yesterday where they were cleared of allegations of transferring judicial funds. — Picture by Lee Maidza.

Kamambo is the ZIFA president, Machana is the board member in charge of finance, Malandule is in charge of competitions and development while Jere sits on the board by virtue of his position as PSL chairman.

Harare magistrate, Stanford Mambanje, upheld the application by the four for the quashing of the charges on the basis that the money which was transferred in the transaction was not judicial funds.

The four were being charged with obstructing the course of justice.

In the succeeding application, the quartet, through Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, had also argued that it was not an offence to transfer money from one of their accounts into another.

They had also argued that the State had failed to supply them with the garnishee order in respect of the Ecobank account from where the money was moved, and deposited into a bank account belonging to one of them.

The four were accused of moving US$740 000 from ZIFA’s Ecobank account into an account belonging to Conduit Investments, a company which is owned by Machana, sometime in 2019.

It was alleged they wanted to block Daisy Guest House (Pvt) Limited from grabbing US$161 172 from the account using a court garnishee order. Mambanje, in his ruling, said that there was no garnishee order, in respect of the ZIFA’s Ecobank account, at the time the four allegedly committed the offence.

He said the manner in which the Sheriff rushed to attempt to garnish money from the Ecobank account was suspicious.

“It is strange why the Sheriff rushed to the Ecobank account when the court order says Steward Bank,’’ the magistrate said in his ruling.

“This was suspicious, as the Sheriff does not embark on such, on his own.’’

Mambanje noted in his ruling that the State alleged the offence was committed on March 25, 2019, when the garnishee order was in respect of the Steward Bank, not Ecobank, account.

“From the agreed facts, as the State alleges the offence was committed, there was no legal process,’’ he said.

“Garnishee orders are granted in specific terms and no such order (was granted) against Ecobank.

“At that time, Ecobank account was not under any attachment and there was nothing which could stop the transfer. The legal process commenced way long after the day of the alleged offence was committed.’’

The court also noted that the Sherriff does not act on his own, without instructions from the court, adding that his actions of approaching Ecobank, was of his making, and suspicious.

Mambanje said the garnishee order, which was later attained by Daisy Guest House, was nullified by the Supreme Court, which left the State case with no foundation.

Circumstances leading to the arrest of Kamambo, Jere, Machana and Malandule were that they met, and agreed, to transfer the money from Ecobank into Machana’s company account, in a bid to evade settling the debt. This was after Daisy Guest House, on October 15, 2018, had obtained a garnishee order from the High Court against ZIFA’s two Steward Bank accounts.

Armed with the court order, on November 21, of the same year, the Sheriff of the High Court approached Steward Bank to effect the court order.

The Sheriff, however, found the accounts with no money, and decided to approach Ecobank. It was alleged Kamambo, Jere, Machana and Malandule had resolved to transfer the money on January 25, 2019.

They were alleged to have also opened four new accounts, which they would use to receive funds channelled by FIFA and CAF, for football development, until ZIFA had managed to settle the debt. The Herald

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