Zifa defends finances

HARARE - Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) insists that their financial position is sound despite the recent damning report produced by their auditors, Baker Tilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants.

According to the association’s 2016 financials, Zifa’s debt has increased to

$7 353 324 from $6 541 879 with the auditors expressing concern that the football mother body might no longer be a going concern.

The year under review is the first year in which the current executive led by president Philip Chiyangwa was in charge since the ouster of Cuthbert Dube’s regime at the end of 2015.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Zifa board member (finance) Philemon Machana said nothing was amiss since they inherited the debt from Dube’s reign.

“It is a fact that we are yet to hold our AGM and in the previous attempt it was postponed which means the audited accounts which were published in one of the media outlet are yet to be fully discussed before a competent AGM,” Machana said.

“It is a fact that Zifa accrued an operating loss of $839 000 for the year 2016.

“But what is telling in those accounts is that before we came in amongst the creditors of Zifa was one former president of Zifa...Dube.

“Initially the record had a figure of $900 000 as has been extended to the association and we are told that Sepp Blatter the then Fifa president when he came to Zimbabwe they were discussing on how Fifa can help the association to do away with the debt.

“Blatter offered to pay the debt if it was discounted and he (Dube) did discount a figure of $415 000. What it meant is that Dube’s figure became $500 000 since it had been reduced. But Fifa did not go on to make the commitment and pay.”

With the Zifa secretariat now housed at Chiyangwa’s personal offices instead of 53 Livingstone Avenue, the association is now paying rent to the Harare property developer.

According to the audit report, Chiyangwa stands to pocket at least $420 000 during Zifa’s five-year tenure at his plush Highlands office building.

Machana insisted this is a legitimate business transaction as they could no longer continue operating from 53 Livingstone Avenue.

“The issue of corporate governance and allow me to say I am a disciple of corporate governance, I am a chartered secretary.

“It’s a broad qualification where I can work as a secretary and the main theme there is governance.

“And as an individual if I am found to be part of people that breach governance issues my qualification and professional standing will be affected.

“So just to dispel the rumours, governance does not mean Machana, (Omega)Sibanda or anyone cannot do business with Zifa because they work for or they represent. We want to remove that fallacy from the onset.

“It was in our note that we are renting premises from...Chiyangwa. And there were some saying $15 000 and varying amounts. It was actually $2 500 in 2016 and this is what we are still talking about now.

“Then when we are talking about 2017 we say it’s $6 000. People can say what are the fundamentals, what have changed.”

But the audit report states:“The agreed monthly rental for the year 2016 was $2 500 per month exclusive of VAT and payable in advance. The rentals will be adjusted as follows; 2017: $6 000 per month, 2018: $6 000 per month, 2019: $7 500, 2020: $7 500 per month and 2021: $9 000 per month.

“Rentals of the subsequent years (2016-2021) will be paid one year in advance before January 1 of the rental year. In the current year $72 000 was paid to Kilima Investments in advance in relating to the 2017 financial year.”

Meanwhile, the Zifa elections will be held anytime after the dates have been ratified by congress at next month’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The AGM is on February 20, but before that, the association will hold an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on January 17.

“The constitution allows us to go for an EGM within 14 days and this is what we have done.

“We are doing that to quickly align with our statutory expectations,” Zifa vice president Omega Sibanda said.

“Our AGM is coming on February 20 where a lot of announcements will be made by the president.

“The president will announce what we have done in football and the direction we intend to take. I can confirm that all is well in our football.”