AFCON PARTICIPATION AND ALLEGED MISDEMEANOURS ATTRIBUTED TO ZIFA AND ITS OFFICIALS
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) wishes to allay any fears from football stakeholders which may have emanated from misleading and false claims of misappropriation of funds being made by certain mischievous elements.
We specifically note with concern unfounded attacks by some few individuals on social media and other platforms who include one Mr Hope Chizuzu a staffer at the City of Harare’s PR department, and most recently uninformed outbursts by Member of Parliament for Norton Hon Temba Mliswa.
Most worrying to ZIFA is the negativity that their outbursts, comments and stories have on the bigger National cause of fundraising for the Warriors who are doing duty in Egypt and the negative influences these irresponsible articles may have on the team.
1) Allegations that ZIFA misappropriated funds from CAF meant for Warriors bonuses:
This is totally false. ZIFA received from CAF an advance preparation grant an amount of USD$316 000. This money is not for the team’s bonuses but meant to assist the association in preparation for the tournament and should in normal cases be going towards the build-up expenses and not actual tournament-related expenses.
This money according to a circular ZIFA received from CAF in March 2019 was supposed to be deposited mid- April but we only got the money on the 14th of June 2019 when our team was already in Egypt.
This money was declared to the fund-raising committee and a decision was made that ZIFA first exhaust this towards team expenses before the fund-raising committee started paying from its own raised resources.
ZIFA paid a total of USD$281 000 directly to the Team (players and officials) Nostro accounts. ZIFA disbursed the first tranche of USD$53 000 to the players immediately on the next working day on Monday the 17th of June 2019.
After the fundraising committee meeting on the same Monday, ZIFA went on to pay the next tranche of USD$228 000 being players daily allowances and appearance fees on Tuesday the 18th of June 2019.
The stamped copies were immediately sent to the Team Manager and communication was also sent to the Head of Delegation that these payments had been done.
Sadly, some of the money took long to reflect in the players’ accounts but such communication was not relayed by beneficiary players through their management to the Secretariat, Head of Delegation nor the other ZIFA Board Members.
ZIFA only got to know of this when the Honourable Minister Kazembe Kazembe was informed of the delay on Thursday the 20th of June 2019 and ZIFA immediately contacted the Bank who admitted delay on some accounts on their part.
These were subsequently effected on Friday the 21st of June in the morning. ZIFA has acquitted fully for this money and no single cent was abused.
2) Allegations of conversion in January 2019 to personal use of USD$740 000 by ZIFA Officials:
This is not only baseless but utter dishonest on the part of those that have sought to propagate falsehoods that funds were moved by ZIFA officials and converted into personal use.
Whilst this matter is pending at the courts and therefore subjudice, ZIFA wishes to reiterate that we are duty bound to ensure wherever possible that funds meant for football development are not used for debt servicing as that will impact negatively on football development programmes.
ZIFA did not breach any law by moving money in anticipation of a threat on the accounts and this is not a crime.
It is a fact that ZIFA at the material time in January resolved to temporarily move funds away from some accounts while beginning the process of paying these creditors from its alternative resources.
Out of the abundance of caution, ZIFA authorised the temporary movement of funds and authorised the payment of a creditor who was threatening to garnish funds meant for football development.
As soon as the creditor was fully paid her dues, the funds were moved back into the ZIFA bank account. These funds were never transacted on in the 9 days when they were not in the ZIFA account.
ZIFA should be credited for saving funds meant for football development. There are bank statements to prove this point.
Sadly, Mr Chizuzu who has these statements has chosen to mislead people via social media.
It is also disappointing that Hon Themba Mliswa has also jumped into the fray without seeking to satisfy himself with the available evidence.
He has even claimed he will issue out citizen arrest on ZIFA officials on these untested allegations. As a lawmaker, one would expect the legislator to be fully conversant with the laws of the land.
ZIFA is well prepared for his threats. Maybe by alleging, trying and convicting ZIFA, Hon Mliswa is himself telling the nation that all the allegations that have previously been levelled against him including taking bribes the latest one being the US$400 000 extortion attempt are all true, for laws are universal.
Hon Mliswa must be reminded that he is not above the law. Trying to say everything while basically saying nothing is un-parliamentary.
Calling women football supporters “girlfriends” is sexist, discriminatory, chauvinistic and illegal. ZIFA shall be taking the MP head on so that he can prove his wild allegations or he has to pay for it in accordance with the dictates of our laws.
If the Hon MP and his handlers have incriminating evidence why has he not reported such to the police so that the law can take its course?
Why is he trying to be a law unto himself? Where does he derive such power and authority? This bullying must stop.
3) Misappropriation of proceeds from the Fundraising Committee by ZIFA:
Again, this is gross misrepresentation done to dampen the fundraising efforts still underway. ZIFA does not control the fund-raising committee purse.
The Committee is chaired by the Honourable Minister Kazembe and he has clarified on several occasions that it was agreed that the funds will be paid directly to beneficiaries and not ZIFA.
It is important to reiterate that no funds from the fundraising committee have been paid directly to ZIFA.
It is therefore misleading to suggest that ZIFA is using the fundraising proceeds for the personal enrichment of officials at the expense of the team as such is not possible.
It is easy for anyone to just verify these simple and basic facts even with the fundraising committee before enmeshing everyone in fiction.
4) Alleged misuse of Funds donated for the team by ZIFA in ferrying supporters and media to Egypt:
There have also been misleading reports that ZIFA misdirected resources donated by well-wishers including those from the Vice-Chairperson of the Fundraising Committee.
It is alleged ZIFA officials converted funds for personal use, ferried their “girlfriends” to Egypt, “bribed Journalists’’ by taking them to Egypt, took Councillors instead of “legitimate” supporters.
These statements are totally false and baseless. For starters, ZIFA never got any money from anyone meant for ferrying of our supporters.
In fact, all proceeds from fundraising initiatives will continue to be directed to the fundraising committee.
ZIFA also saw nothing wrong in taking supporters to cheer their team and raise their spirits in Egypt which is why we also speak of the “12th player” in football.
ZIFA does not discriminate supporters because of gender, maybe the Hon Mliswa does and probably he views women as an instrument of sexual desires.
ZIFA knows and believes there are genuine football supporters among women just like there are among men. ZIFA sees nothing wrong in including its Councillors to go and support the team. Councillors are also supporters.
There is nothing wrong in facilitating our sports journalists to cover their team and inform people back home of the detailed goings-on with their team.
ZIFA used its own resources and not CAF AFCON preparatory funds. In short, ZIFA will repeat the same act if called on to do so as such efforts were meant to support the team. Many countries in the tournament have brought in hordes of supporters and journalists to support their national cause, why should Zimbabwe be the exception.
The association is fully aware of the recent attempt by doomsayers to hoodwink the team into believing that the coming-in of supporters is a waste of resources and that all money must be going to the players.
ZIFA believe a team is made up of Administrators/facilitators, technical resource persons, supporters and most importantly the players and all stakeholders have critical roles to play in the performance of the team.
5) Accountability and Transparency:
ZIFA is a transparent organisation and will stop at nothing in this effort. ZIFA shall in line with the SRC requirements avail all evidence to show no money was misused.
Suffice to say ZIFA believe even those that are alleging the same now such as Mr Chizuzu are fully aware no money was misappropriated as they are already in possession of ZIFA bank statements which they clandestinely got through the help of one Borrowdale-based police officer – Mutinhima – and one Lazarus Riva an individual who went to the Bank and masqueraded as a police officer supposedly investigating a case of obstruction of justice while they instead wanted to use the information to get to know all ZIFA accounts so they could garnish them.
This indeed later happened before the bank statements could even get to the court since the information was shared but deliberately misinterpreted to give a false perception of misappropriated funds.
ZIFA will share the bank statements, board resolutions, the rationale for decisions made, all payments done from the CAF proceeds, the CAF tournament challenges among others.
6) External negative influences set to destabilize ZIFA:
It has also come to ZIFA’s attention that there are wolves in sheep’s skins who appear to love our football yet they wish for the opposite.
These individuals for which sadly, Hon. Mliswa has chosen to blindly follow are yearning to use football to fight boardroom wars against the current executive.
In the fullness of time, ZIFA shall inform the nation of previous executive members who are fighting the Kamambo executive committee hoping for a come-back and second bite in the ZIFA Board.
Meanwhile, ZIFA is advising both CAF and FIFA on the role of these individuals in destabilising our football.
At the right time, a full dossier shall be released by ZIFA with detailed information on resources received and used, destabilizing efforts prior and during the tournament, what really happened in camp among other finer details so the nation can freely judge from an informed point of view.
The Warriors are still in the hunt and we urge all football loving Zimbabweans, corporates and partners to ignore those that are making unsubstantiated and unwarranted allegations.
Let us remain committed to supporting the team. The diversionary tactics by some well-known but now expert extortionists who hide behind the fingers of being outspoken should be condemned.
Time has come for us to tell the devil that this is not their place and that they are liars. We urge the nation to ignore these prophets of doom and rally behind their team both emotionally and materially.
The Team is for the nation, it needs us all for support so they can deliver without being diverted by match-fixers who come in different forms, size and positions in society.
We thank all those that have continued to support the team and we wish our Warriors all the success as they try to conquer Africa on the football stage.
We shall always co-operate with the authorities whenever called upon to do so accordingly we shall give our regulator the SRC, Our Ministry and all stakeholders sufficient information and evidence to dismiss the allegations.
We shall also give them evidence which proves and show how far certain individuals have gone to destabilize the sport.
In the final analysis, our football shall continue to grow and under the leadership of Felton Kamambo, a lot of positives have happened in a very short period of time.
While this is a cause for celebrations to many it surely is hurting a few but noisy individuals.
GO WARRIORS GO
BY ORDER OF THE ZIMBABWE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (ZIFA) EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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