ZRU finances in shambles

HARARE - The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) enquiry into the affairs of the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has revealed lack of financial principles at the union.

The SRC tasked a commission led by commissioner Clement Mukwasi to probe ZRU following the suspension of president Nyararai Sibanda and his two deputies Noddy Kanyangarara and Tapiwa Mangezi.

Mukwasi and his team were able to unearth gross financial irregularities at the union mainly because there were no proper systems.

“Financial stewardship and control are weak as evidenced by the fact that the former president, John Falkenberg and the former CEO, Colleen De Jong are still signatories to the ZRU Stanbic bank accounts,” the report said.

“There has been no Board resolution to rectify the matter. Several former members have not been removed as signatories to the ZRU bank accounts, long after leaving office.

“They include Bruce Hobson, David Crouch and...De Jong who are signatories to the ZRU NMB bank account. ZRU is officially running bank accounts with Stanbic Bank, but audit reports revealed a secret bank account with NMB bank with the full panel of signatories being former employees or officers of ZRU.

“No income was declared or recorded in relation to sponsors or donors such as Old Mutual who are known to be funding rugby development.”

The SRC report also noted that: “No financial systems were being observed — there is no finance committee in place, no internal audit system in place, no purchasing and supply procedures in place, no separation of roles between those who receive money, those who bank it, those who pay for supplies and those who receive the supplies.”

There is also a fear the union’s finances were abused after the ZRU audit was tempered with. 

“Sponsors’ money not used transparently, as a result there was disunity within ZRU as some members wanted to avoid financial scrutiny,” the report said.

“In the auditor’s opinion of the 2016 audit report, there are no sponsorship documents that show how much exactly was given or pledged.

“The only documents produced by the ZRU were internal receipts which are susceptible to manipulation.

“The 2016 audit report was only signed at the end, creating a risk of manipulation. The audited accounts do not have pages 1 to 3. The committee could not find out why such pages were concealed.”

Sibanda’s board is also accused of failing to hold meetings with members gathering randomly to discuss union business. 

“The executive committee meetings were called randomly, ignoring the schedules or set dates, resulting in poor attendance or in meetings being cancelled. In some instances, less than an hour’s notice was given,” the report said.

“Ideas, good or bad, became live areas and resulted in action items being implemented without debate or dialogue on the issues.

“Since September 2016 to the time of the suspension of the ZRU executive members (elected and appointed), only one meeting was held in February 2017.

“The national board was supposed to meet at least once a quarter, therefore the executive committee was supposed to meet more frequently than the Board.

“The secretariat had no direction at all since Executive Committee was not meeting.”

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