Parly takes on ZC, MetBank links questioned

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) leadership yesterday appeared before Parliament to answer questions from MPs on the state of the game amid allegations of money laundering and misappropriations of funds in the organisation.

Once a thriving organisation and shining example of stability, ZC has been reeling under a serious financial crisis or almost a decade, which came to a head last December when players across all levels of the game unanimously agreed to go on strike over non-payment of salaries and other dues.

Other topical issues interrogated by the legislatures yesterday is a debt in the region of $16 million reportedly owed to local financial institution, Metropolitan Bank, and a possible conflict of interest between ZC and the bank.

ZC’s long-serving chairman, Peter Chingoka, his deputy Wilson Manase and the cricket body’s ex-managing director, Ozias Bvute, are also Metropolitan directors.

A well-placed source told the Daily News yesterday that the Parliamentary Committee on Sports, Education and Culture will soon summon the ZC leadership to appear before the August House again to present an audit of the debt said to be owed to Metropolitan Bank.

Chingoka and Manase represented the organisation in Parliament yesterday, and it was put to them by Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka that their presence on the two boards raised eyebrows in corporate governance world. 

To which Chingoka responded: “Mr Manase is a non-executive member; I’m a non-executive member of Metropolitan Bank. We don’t have any decision making powers. All the transactions are made by the management. It’s all above board. But because of perception, last week we moved the account to Barclays Bank.”

Manase is the chairperson of the Metropolitan Bank.

Last week, players agreed to resume preparation for March’s ICC World Twenty20 after the board promised to pay the outstanding dues by February 10 courtesy of a $3 million loan secured from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

And in his presentation yesterday, Chingoka said the availing of the funds by ICC was an endorsement of his leadership by the world cricket governing body, contrary to common notion that his administration had pushed the game to the brink of collapse through malpractice and corrupt tendencies.

He said before releasing the funds, ICC had audited ZC’s accounts and given the association the thumbs up.  

Sources have however questioned the relationship between ZC and the powerful and rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is behind a controversial proposal to reform cricket's governing body, ICC.

Moves to restructure the International Cricket Council (ICC) to hand power to India, Australia and England, the game's financial powerhouses, were passed in principle during a board meeting last week, but have been slammed by a number of respected analysts in the cricketing world, with Pakistan legend Imran Khan saying these “reforms” would take the game back to the days of colonialism.

The proposal is likely to bring about structural changes in world of cricket if it were to be passed; however many see it potentially hampering the globalisation of cricket.

India is the biggest proponent of the proposal. It needs votes from seven countries to get passed; since, according to the ICC constitution, eight votes are required to bring an amendment.

ZC is however believed to have backed the controversial proposal, apparently in return for financial backing from the Indian board.

Meanwhile, Chingoka also revealed that ZC will next week slash its workforce in a streamlining exercise.

Among those to be affected are players, including those on central contacts. The centrally-contracted players alone are believed to be owed $320 000 in total. This does not include other lower-level players and staff.

“Our overheads used to be $750 000 but we have had to cut down on overheads by drastic measures.  After downsizing we are now are at $350 000 but that is still a lot,” said Chingoka.

Manase interjected: “We have about 100 professionals but we are going to have to cut down on that number next week.”

Asked why the game was in the sorry state it finds itself, Chingoka laid the blame solely on lack of funding and “sanctions” by the leading cricketing nations, who have boycotted tours to the country for years on political and moral grounds.  

“It’s really linked to finances and lack of funding,” Chingoka said.

“We have a four-year ICC funding cycle and we always have problems when we come to the end of that cycle.  Our source of revenue is when other teams visit Zimbabwe – mainly India, England and Australia through television rights.  But England and Australia have put sanctions on us.

“We lost out on $1.5 million after India cut short their tour last year. If we had received that money we would not have been facing the player problems.”

Chingoka said ZC has also faced persecution due to the President Robert Mugabe’s position as the association’s patron.

“It’s difficult. Some people want to bring us down because the patron is his Excellency (Robert Mugabe),” he said.

“It’s difficult to change the perception of your CNN, BBC, to see it from our perceptive.

“But by next week when we pay players the fire will be doused. But we are not alone in this predicament and the ICC knows this. Last time when we were in Dubai there were two other countries borrowing money.  So unless we are getting good Indian tours together with ICC earnings, then we are in for a hiding.”

The ZC boss, who has been at the helm of the country’s second most popular sport for more than two decades, also faced questions from Mutasa Central legislator Trevor Saruwaka over his lengthy stay in office.

“I have been chairman since 1992, then president, now back to chairman,” he said.

“My tenure expires 2015.  There is an election process and I was elected by a board of directors.”

Comments (10)

Zim corporate crime syndrome: Steal all you can, then share your anti-sanctions mantra with the politicians, you will survive!

Sorrygents - 7 February 2014

Imi, iye Chingoka atove Life President we Zimbabwe Cricket here uyu, and Manase wacho atovewo key ye ZC futi, here. Toreva kuti hapana vamwe vanogona kutonga here. Mliswa akavengeri varungu? We are more racist than whites. Saka varungu hapachina pavachatonga here, pese paita murungu pamusoro moda kuvabvisa muchishandisa race card. Apa imi mari hamudi kunyudza futi musport macho, siyayi vane mari vanyudze mari yavo vafare musakambire pese pese mhani

shuus - 7 February 2014

Chingoka heads a public body so we need to know what his package is. With all the nasty salary revelations in the public domain I hope we don't get another nasty surprise. Any truly sports minded administrator wouldn't support the new proposed international structure in cricket. Makes you think doesn't it.

saundy - 7 February 2014

Mr Chingoka being none executive is no excuse. There is clear conflict of interest . By the way you bought a house in Uk where did you get the money from. The cricket board is broke Players are not being paid. Chingoka must go!

enocksebele - 8 February 2014

That's right being none executive is no excuse. If Chingoka has any sense in his head he should step down

John Moyo - 8 February 2014

That's right being none executive is no excuse. If Chingoka has any sense in his head he should step down

John Moyo - 8 February 2014

Veduwe why Mugabe's name pacorruption iripachena. Wilson naPeter nyarai. Imi mosapota Zanu puffu naMugabe ndimi muri corrupt, same naCuthbert nevamwe. Bvute akauraya cricket now ave kubank nestaff memebers akatora kucricket svike ovapa mazimari nemavhongoma emota. Hezvo same Bvute kuAirZim akonzeresa. It is high time mose marizaina mugare kumba nevazukuru.

Tawa Zaru - 8 February 2014

Can Chingoka confirm that by moving the account to Barclays Bank from Metropolitan Bank they have inherited the $15 million debt, Zc is owing

Nico - 9 February 2014

Why did not the Parliamentary Committee not request form Chingoka for their salary schedule to asceratain what the former CEO, the current CEO, and the Board and administrators are reseiving as salaries, renumerations , allowances and packages. The fiancial woes wil then be easily exposed.

Nico - 9 February 2014

Ozius Bvute swindled Zim Cricket and now he is heading Met Bank which is now broke and people are failing to get their moneys. Surely, the authorities have to do someting about these crooks at Zim Cricket, Peter Chingoka, Wilson Manase including Bvute a.s.a.p. Second time around with the legislators, they will not win. Am sure heads will roll

codei - 9 February 2014

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