Zifa woes mount

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) was dealt a huge blow yesterday when the High Court gave a green light to the sale of its properties to settle a $300 000 debt owed to LED Travel and Tours.

This comes after Zifa unsuccessfully fought to protect its property following an October 2015 order for the sale of the assets, which include the association’s Kensington house, the Zifa House in Bulawayo and the Zifa head offices in the capital.

The debt occurred during the Cuthbert Dub-led executive before it was kicked out of office by disgruntled councillors accusing it of maladministration, among other ills.

Zifa Private Limited company, which claims ownership of the assets, had made an urgent High Court application to stop the sale of the property, arguing that it belonged to them not the association.

This followed a High Court order which allowed the execution of the property.

The auction of the properties was stopped at the last minute after the association filed an interpleader challenging its ownership.

However, the interpleader was thrown out yesterday by High Court judge Jesta Charehwa after Zifa Private Limited company representatives failed to appear in court.

Zifa Private Limited had been barred from participating in the court process after it failed to file its papers within the stipulated time-frame provided for in terms of the law.

LED Travel and Tours’ lawyer Philip Nyakutombwa of Mugabe Nyakutombwa legal Practitioners, said the process in now underway to place the association’s property under the hammer.

“This is a long-standing debt and we are obviously commencing swiftly so that we can recover what is owed to our client,” Nyakutombwa told the Daily News.

“We are trying to recover the best we can for our client who has been patient for a long time. Our client has done a lot for football and this is how people want to repay him.” 

Nyakutombwa said the association now owes his client over $300 000 in total including interests and other legal costs.

The debt is from an agreement between Zifa and LED Car Hire for the company to borrow funds from two banks on behalf of the association to fund the Warriors’ failed 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 former chairman of the board of Trustees Tshinga Dube, providing the security.

Despite the assurances, it was LED Travel and Tours, which was targeted by the banks, as they sought to recover their money.

Led lost faith in the association after several attempts to have Zifa settle the debt failed to yield results.

LED Travel and Tours owner, who is also a former Zifa board member for Finance, Bernard Gwarada said he was not in a position to comment.

The High Court ruling was made as Zifa was given ‘‘life’’ after its executive had attempted to dissolve the national football association because of its debts which it said were unsustainable.

Government last week rejected the Philip Chiyangwa-led executive’s decision to dissolve Zifa and replace it with the National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz), as the new supreme body.

Zifa has crippling debts amounting to more than $6 million.

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