Asiagate sucks in Mzembi

HARARE - Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has been sucked into the Asiagate scandal after witnesses told the court during the trial of former Zifa boss Henrietta Rushwaya that he sanctioned some of the matches.

Tendai Madzorera, then Zifa vice president yesterday told the court that according to Zifa statutes, it was not proper for the minister of Tourism to authorise the matches.

Madzorera denied knowledge of any of the trips or receiving communication pertaining to the games and said he would normally get the same responses every time he queried the matches.

“The usual response was that the trip had been authorised by the minister or the invitation came late and we could not be able to contact you,” said Madzorera.

Mwandibhuya Kennedy Mutepfa, another witness who testified yesterday told the court that during the alleged time, he was Zifa board member.

Commenting on one of the trips to Bulgaria, Mutepfa said: “It had been alleged that the trip to Bulgaria had been authorised by the minister and there was a letter from the accused (Rushwaya) that she was the head of delegation appointed by the minister.”

Asked on the name of minister he was referring to, Mutepfa said he was referring to Mzembi.

However, Rushwaya’s lawyer said his client was being used as a “pawn” in a game of chess where former Zifa president Wellington Nyatanga and Madzorera were milking money from an Asian betting guru Raj Perumal.

Rushwaya’s lawyer, Charles Chinyama, said Madzorera was nailing Rushwaya to “seek favour” from current Zifa president Curthbert Dube.

Chinyama said Madzorera was the one who brought Asiagate to Zimbabwe.

“You and Nyatanga knew of Raj Perumal,” Chinyama said, while cross-examining Madzorera.

“Before she came to Zifa, you and Nyatanga invited Perumal to Zimbabwe in 2006 and 2007, dined with him,” said Chinyama.

Madzorera denied the allegations and said he did not know of Perumal prior to Rushwaya’s appointment as Zifa boss.

Madzorera denied the allegations too and maintained that the Asian games were “unsanctioned” according to his knowledge.

He said that he only came to know about the games as had become the norm, after they had returned from the matches.

Chinyama told the court that all the matches were played with the knowledge of Nyatanga who was Rushwaya’s principal then.

He further said Madzorera’s evidence was a complete contradiction of what Nyatanga told the court.

Rushwaya is facing nine counts of corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal. - Tendai Kamhungira

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