Mashingaidze takes Zifa fight to Zurich

HARARE - Former Zifa chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze who was slapped with a life ban by Zifa has taken the fight to the Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland where he is alleging a plethora of transgressions by the incumbent association’s president to aid himself to the top.

In a letter dated December 15 and addressed to Fifa head of ethics committee Gautier Aubert, copied to Fifa, Caf and Cosafa secretaries-general, the Sport and Recreation Commission and the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission, Mashingaidze tenders his submission in a dossier on issues that include corruption, vote buying, bribery, abuse of office, general corruption and mismanagement of football affairs in Zimbabwe by the Zifa boss Philip Chiyangwa who is also the Cosafa president.

“I write to your esteemed person and office in my capacity as former general secretary of Zifa. This letter serves to inform you that the current president of Zifa and Cosafa faces serious charges of vote-buying, bribery, abuse of office, general corruption and mismanagement arising out of his tenure as president of Zifa in 2015,” Mashingaidze wrote in his nine-paged dossier a copy of which the Daily News is in possession of.

“I, as former general secretary of Zifa from 2004 to 2016, have found it fit to report to the Fifa ethics committee, the glaring improprieties perpetrated by...Chiyangwa who flaunts that he is untouchable because of his political and other contacts.”

Mashingaidze cites the transgressions listing them one by one starting with the pre-election period where he states that Chiyangwa was a nonentity in terms of football administration prior to him assuming the reigns at Zifa.

“Prior to assuming offices at Zifa, Cosafa, Caf and Fifa was a nonentity in terms of football in particular and sport in general...,” Mashingaidze alleged in his letter.

Under qualifications Mashingaidze alleges that Chiyangwa misrepresented contrary to Article 32.4 of the Zifa constitution which stipulates that “...shall have already been active in football administration for at least five years.”

Chiyangwa on his part, said Mashingaidze, lied to the electoral committee that he had been part of the Futsal administration in the country.

“Chiyangwa threw in his hat against seasoned sports administrators and herewith the deficiencies in terms of the basic qualifications for the position of Zifa president as stipulated...Chiyangwa according to the records at hand, had never been involved in association football all his life prior to December 2015.

“He had never run even a social team,” Mashingaidze further alleges.

“He did not have the remotest of contacts with Zimbabwean football until his dramatic entry into Zimbabwean football in 2015. Records to that effect are available...Chiyangwa also presented false football credentials to the Zifa electoral committee, prior to the December 2015 elections through one of his election agents

“For the Fifa ethics committees’ record...Chiyangwa whose academic qualifications and or literacy level, is questionable, had no idea, prior to the Zifa elections, what Zifa, Cosafa, Caf and Fifa stood for. He did not even know how many players constitute a football team.”

The former CEO went on to make further allegations of intimidation, bribery, vote-buying, abuse of office, fraud, corruption, mismanagement and harassment and in conclusion volunteered himself to help with all the evidence at his disposal should the Fifa ethics committee need his help.

“I, along with the former Zifa accountant have since reported...Chiyangwa to the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission for the transgressions... (evidence available). We also made submissions to the Sports and Recreation Commission’s board during the enquiry of early 2017 into the state of football in Zimbabwe and it is regrettable that the findings from the SRC have been kept a guarded top secret by the former minister of sports and recreation who was fired recently,” Mashingaidze further states his allegations in the letter.

“...Chairperson, please be advised that should you institute thorough investigations into the transgressions of... Chiyangwa the following will be available: affidavits of evidence for your use, credible witnesses comprising Zifa staff...”

Contacted for comment yesterday Chiyangwa said the fact of the matter is that Mashingaidze was dismissed on criminal grounds. “And there’s no way he can try to brush that aside by claiming that I wasn’t properly elected into office, he is a criminal and has to be answerable to that with the relevant authorities.

“I was endorsed in terms of the Zifa constitution and who is Mashingaidze to come here and say I wasn’t legitimately elected?”

The Zifa boss accused the Daily News of “spearheading a smear campaign to demonise ‘me’ and that is the reason why I sue papers.

“The same stuff you are talking about was returned to Zurich sometime back and was rejected and there’s nothing new that he wants to communicate to the same body that he hasn’t done before.

“Are you aware that the matter involving Mashingaidze is now under police investigation and the police are keen to interview him in connection with the criminal charges levelled against him?” said Chiyangwa.

Zifa has pressed criminal charges against the former chief executive and are finalising papers to open a docket against Mashingaidze who claims that he is owed $80 000 by the association in outstanding salaries.

Zifa are in possession of auditors Tilly Barker’s report sent to the SRC which revealed that the association failed to account for $700 000 during the time Mashingaidze was in charge of the association.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association Executive Committee has sued and indefinitely banned its former general secretary, ...Mashingaidze, on charges of theft and fraudulently accruing a huge debt for Zifa during his tenure as the head of secretariat,” Zifa said in a statement last week.

“Apart from the life ban, Mashingaidze has been summoned to answer to a charge of theft of association funds in excess of $700 000 which the plaintiff (Zifa) is claiming, with interest.

“Reference is made to the decision of the Zifa Executive Committee on December 12, 2017 where it was resolved that in terms of Article 34(n) of the Zifa constitution, you are forthwith expelled and banned for life from participation in association football in Zimbabwe in any role, position, or capacity whatsoever, subject to the confirmation of your expulsion and life ban by the Zifa congress in terms of the ZIFA constitution.”

“Reasons for Mashingaidze’s expulsion are as follows:

“Theft of Association funds in excess of $700 000 as established by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) Committee of Inquiry Report dated September 2015.

“Fraudulently creating a $7 million debt on behalf of the Association through unilaterally signing acknowledgements of debt where no services were rendered … as established by the SRC Report.”