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Kazembe denies looting ZIFA’s US$1,3 million, says claims ‘utter rubbish’

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe has dismissed allegations that he embezzled US$1,3 million meant for bonuses and allowances for Warriors players during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals held in Egypt.

This comes after a letter to Sports minister Kirsty Coventry by legislator Omega Sibanda who served twice as Zifa vice-president, revealed that at least US$1,3 million of the US$1,5 million raised, could not be accounted for.

“The only public funds that remain not acquitted are those fundraised with the help of HE (His Excellency) President Mnangagwa in 2019 for the Egypt Afcon.

“Over US$1 500 000 was raised from that and only US$216 000 according to the Zifa Afcon acquittal (see annexure M, N, O of the ZIFA untold story document for proof of this acquittal even that was given to the SRC at the time by ZIFA) was paid by the committee directly to players and not through Zifa accounts,” read a letter written on April 19, four days before Saturday’s emergency general meeting (EGM) which booted out Kamambo.

“This is where, in my view, where you should ask the SRC or the (fundraising) committee where the rest of the money, more than US$1,3 million went.

“It is of public importance that such information be shared because that remains the only outstanding unacquitted public funds channelled to football (by the government) but such was not under ZIFA, but a committee established and composed of several ministers.”

The money which was fundraised by President Emmerson Mnangagwa towards the players’ welfare in Cairo has reportedly been looted with Kazembe in the spotlight because he headed the fundraising committee.

In Cairo, players sometimes had to threaten to boycott training in protests over unavailability of bonuses and allowances.

The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the ZIFA board led by Felton Kamambo over allegations of abusing US$53,000 for Warriors’ Egypt campaign.

In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Kazembe, however, denied the allegations as “utter rubbish” claiming that the fundraising committee did not raise more than US$1 million. He did not specify how much it raised, saying “around 300k plus Zim Dollars”.

“That is utter rubbish. People should do their research before they utter nonsense. After our assignment we got audited by a reputable firm PWC and surrendered everything. We surrendered the audit report and the bank balances,” the Minister said.

“Please remember this committee consisted of reputable professionals, the likes of Chipo Mutasa the TelOne MD, Philip Mataranyika, the founder and Group CEO for Nyaradzo, Eve Gadzikwa, to mention but a few.

“These are well to do professionals of integrity and they did their work diligently. I went to Egypt as the acting minister of youth , sport arts and recreation at the time not to disperse any money. That’s why I’m saying people should do their research before they start throwing mud everywhere.

“For starters there was a subcommittee responsible for payments and payments were made from Zimbabwe. No payments were made in Egypt. Secondly the committee never raised US$1 million, so I do not know where these guys are getting their figures from.

“It was way less than that . I do not have the actual figures but I think it was +/- 300k plus ZWD. That’s why I’m saying people should do their research before throwing mud.

“Anyway I challenge them to get hold of the audit report and the bank statements which should be available at the Ministry. These are public funds so the public should be allowed to have sight of the transactions.

“Thirdly I challenge whoever is making these baseless allegations to bring me before any tribunal and in public. The committee I chaired did a splendid job. People should be grateful.”

The fundraising committee was headed by Kazembe, who as the Acting Sports Minister, reportedly flew to Egypt to personally hand the money directly to players. Nehanda Radio

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