Parly summons Zifa

HARARE - The Parliamentary portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education, Sports and Arts has summoned the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

The SRC, Zifa and other football stakeholders are expected to appear before the portfolio committee chaired by Zanu PF legislator for Bindura North, Kenneth Musanhi on Thursday.

At the hearing, the SRC is expected to table their long awaited report following the boycott by Warriors players shortly before departure for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon.

The players led by former captain Willard Katsande refused to attend a send-off ceremony organised by the government at which former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is now President, was supposed to be the guest speaker.

The players were demanding their allowances and appearance fees upfront and refused to attend the event before Zifa finally reached an 11th hour agreement.

However, the episode which unfolded at a local hotel was a huge embarrassment for Zifa and the government then tasked the SRC to make an investigation into the matter.

Another hot issue which the legislators are likely to try to get to the bottom of is the revelations contained n the 2016 Zifa financial report compiled by Baker Tilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants.

In a potential breach of good corporate governance practices, Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa, earned $72 000 in 2017 alone by renting out his offices to the association.

Zifa’s offices were relocated from its headquarters at 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare, to his plush offices along Enterprise Road in the capital two years ago.

According auditors, Chiyangwa’s company Kilima Investments currently charges Zifa $6 000 a month to rent its offices.

The lease agreement between Zifa and Kilima also stipulates that the rental fees, which must be paid in advance at the start of every year, will be increased bi-annually.

When Zifa moved into Chiyangwa’s Highlands property in June 2016, the monthly rental fees were pegged at $2 500 per month, before a significant increase to the current $6 000 was effected at the start of 2017 — marking a 140 percent jump in rentals in a space of six months.

The stipulated increases going forward also mean that Chiyangwa will stand to gain $90 000 per year between 2019 and 2020, when the rental fees will go up from $6 000 to $7 500 per month.

In total, the Harare businessman, who has vast interests in property development, will make a total of $420 000 by the time the lease agreement between Zifa and Kilima expires in September 2021.

The same audit report noted that it wasn’t only Kilima Investments which was doing business with Zifa as another firm, Hansporte Investments — in which Chiyangwa’s manager Marshal Jonga is a director — was in charge of the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden.

“The association paid $50 000 to Hansporte Investments for the renovations of the Zifa Village, and for furniture and fittings,” the audit report said.

The same audit also noted that Zifa, who have a debt which now stands at $7 million, borrowed $1.2 million from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to finance the Warriors’ 2017 Afcon campaign.

Zifa is failing to repay the loan which is now accumulating interest on a monthly basis.

At this rate, Zifa ability to remain as a going concern is no longer attainable.

“The association has not been able to pay its creditors, including statutory payments when due. There are pending legal cases against the association, that may it successfully, result in claims that the association is unlikely to satisfy,” the auditors said.

All the creditors owed by the association will be allowed to attend Thursday’s hearing to make their presentations before the legislators.


 

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