In an interview with The Herald Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) director general Gift Machengete denied reports that they diverted $1 million from the Universal Services Fund (USF) to bailout the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).
Machengete confirmed Potraz extended a loan to ZIFA but denied that it was money from the USF that was used. Said Machengete:
These accusations are unfounded and may be driven by mere speculation, lack of information or outright malice. For instance, claims that USF funded the Zimbabwe Football Association is baseless. No funding was ever provided to ZIFA by USF. Part of the confusion stems from the failure to distinguish POTRAZ from USF, which are two separate statutory bodies. Hence, where POTRAZ bailed out ZIFA with a loan for the national soccer team`s participation at the Africa Cup of Nations some sections of the society viewed this as USF funding non-core activities.
Potraz and Government sources who spoke to NewsDay in September 2017, said Philip Chiyangwa approached then Minister of Sport Makhosini Hlongwane seeking funds for the Warrior’s trip to Gabon. Hlongwane approached then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who then ordered Potraz to pay Zifa $1 million. A source said that the money which is meant for telecommunications infrastructure development and establishment, was written off by Potraz.