Zifa, Gwarada wrangle rages on

HARARE - There is no end in sight between the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and its former board member Bernard Gwarada after it emerged that the Sheriff had wrongfully attached property belonging to Zifa (Private) Limited to settle a debt.

According to court papers, the Gwarada-owned company Led Travel and Tours is owed $90 306,04, though the lawyers claim the figure has since ballooned due to interests and other legal costs.

Zifa (Private) Limited, which is represented by lawyers from Nyamayaro, Makanza and Bakasa Legal Practitioners was the applicant, and had argued that it is a distinct legal entity from Zifa, the Association.

In the application, the company cited the Sheriff of Zimbabwe and Led Travel and Tours as respondents.

“The applicant (Zifa (Private) Limited) is the registered owner of four immovable properties, which include the property which is the subject of the proceedings under case number HC10940/15.

The title deeds, which are a matter of public record, are in the name of the applicant and not in the name of Zimbabwe Football Association,” the organisation’s director Abdullah Ismail Kassim said in an affidavit.

The four properties are, stand 1175 Salisbury Township of Salisbury Township Lands held under deed of Transfer No. 294/83 dated 21st January 1983, stand 100 of Kensington Estate held under Deed of Transfer No. 8771/88 dated 21st November 1988, stand 13689 Bulawayo Township of Stand 321 Bulawayo Township held under Deed of Transfer No. 677/83 dated 15th March 1983 and Arboretum of Mt Hampden held under Deed of Transfer No. 2882/2000 dated 21st March 2000.

Kassim added: “On July 7, 2016, applicant was shocked to learn, through a Daily News newspaper article, that an order had been granted by honourable justice (Jester) Charehwa in case number HC10940/15 declaring certain properties owned by the applicant executable.”

According to Kassim, the company’s property was wrongly attached in execution by the Sheriff, arguing that they just share a beneficial relationship with Zifa arising from mutual interest in Zimbabwean football.

“ . . . and Zimbabwe Football Association occupies properties owned by the applicant, which initially was meant to raise funds for the applicant through rentals but was however, done away with after Zimbabwe Football Association proved to be overwhelmed by debts and incapable of paying the proposed rent,” Kassim said.

In an affidavit however, Gwarada, ahead of the hearing of the court application, last month wrote an affidavit agreeing to the application for rescission of the judgment, abandoning his earlier position in which he challenged the application.

“The matter has since been dormant and in the intermittent period, I have engaged the applicant and have been convinced that the application in fact is well-grounded.

“I am therefore, withdrawing my opposition on behalf of the second respondent (Led Travel and Tours) and believe the rescission of default judgment should be granted, furthermore, I also believe the subject matter, i.e the movable properties do belong to the applicant and not the judgment debtor,” Gwarada said.

The debt between the parties emanate from an agreement between Zifa and Led Travel and Tours 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, prompting it to approach the courts for recourse.

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