Zifa bribery case: Drama as witness is 'arrested'

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) former bosses’ bribery case took a new twist yesterday, as the State witness, Leeroy Waguta — who had travelled from South Africa to testify, was briefly arrested at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

Waguta was whisked away by police officials moments after Harare magistrate, Lucy Mungwari, had dismissed an application by the accused for exception to the charge.

He was taken to the holding cells where he was allegedly quizzed for what sources said were previous cases involving a former footballer.

However, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said Waguta was not in their custody although sources said he had a pending case at the frauds department.

“I have been asked about that issue by many journalists. As we speak Waguta is not in any police cell,” said Nyathi.

Waguta — alleged to be the whistle blower — is the last witness to testify in the trial of ex-Zifa bosses Hanrietta Rushwaya, Edzai Kasinauyo and Nation Dube and had been advised to appear in court next Tuesday to give his side of the story, as the match fixing scandal rages on.

The trio was represented by Simon Mupindu, Harrison Nkomo and Simon Simango, respectively.

Through their lawyers, the trio argued that after former Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze had testified, they established that there was no complainant in the case, as no resolution was proffered to mandate him to represent the organisation.

“This court is set without a complainant as Mashingaidze who is cited as the complainant is no longer employed at Zifa. We have no complainant but, just witnesses,” Mpindu said.

Prosecutor Timothy Makoni responded that the accused persons’ application was not well placed, arguing that proceduraly, relief ought to have been sought when the case commenced.

“We did not serve the defence with board resolution from the onset but with the few documents that we furnished them, they should have shown the court that the board resolution issue was a concern.”

However, Nkomo argued that in the absence of the resolution, the accused persons were unlawfully before the court.

“If the State counsel accepts as a fact that there is need for a resolution, the enquiry basically becomes on what basis these charges stand on. The charges and paperwork in the absence of a resolution was not done in terms of the law,”Nkomo added.

Hungwe also submitted: “State has failed to show why the case should continue. We are literally fighting over a non-existing issue. Mashingaidze testified as the person representing complainant but failed to tender resolution.”

Mungwari ruled that the court had the discretion to attend to the ‘‘plea’’ or ‘‘application for exception’’ before dismissing the application.

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