Court orders Zifa to pay $90k

HARARE - A High  Court judge has ordered financially-constrained Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to pay a $90 000 debt to suspended board member Bernard Gwarada.

Gwarada, who was suspended together with vice president Omega Sibanda and 12 councillors last month, through his company Led Travel and Tours (Private) Limited (Led) filed a High Court application seeking a provisional sentence for the payment of $90 306,04.

High Court judge Loice Matanda-Moyo granted the application yesterday, after Zifa failed to appear for the hearing.

This resulted in Led’s lawyer Vimbai Hannah Tongoona applying for an order to be granted in the firm’s favour.

Circumstances leading to the litigation emerged in 2013 when Led borrowed money from two banks on behalf of the football association to finance the Warriors’ Fifa 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The loans were to cover the cost of the air tickets, with the Zifa Trust underwriting the transaction and the chairman of the Trust, Tshinga Dube, providing the security.

But the Zifa Trust has not been functioning since the Warriors completed the disastrous 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Zimbabwe finished bottom of the table, with just two points, after losing four of their six matches and failing to win a single match.

According to a copy of an acknowledgement of debt attached to the High Court application, Zifa was supposed to start repaying the money by the end of January this year.

The acknowledgement of debt dated December 15, 2014, was addressed to Gwarada by Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association wishes to acknowledge the above debt made up as follows, $32 118,96 owed to Led Travel and Tours for facility offered to the company by FBC Bank on behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association,” reads the notice.

“$58 187,08 owed to Led Travel and Tours for facility offered to the company by BancABC on behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association.”

In their High Court application, Led through their lawyer Tongoona from Nyakutombwa, Mugabe Legal Counsel said: “In terms of the said document an amount of $90 306,04 was acknowledged as being due and owing to the plaintiff (Led) by the said defendant (Zifa).

“You are called upon to satisfy the plaintiff’s claim immediately, by paying the amount claimed to the Sheriff of Zimbabwe or to the plaintiff’s legal representatives, Messrs Nyakutombwa, Mugabe Legal Counsel.”

Earlier this year, bailiffs sent by the two banks visited the Led offices in the capital and attached a number of movable assets.

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