WATCH: My hands are clean — Zifa president: I’m not into Zifa for money, Neither Fifa nor Caf can interfere with our constitution

07 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
WATCH: My hands are clean — Zifa president: I’m not into Zifa for money, Neither Fifa nor Caf can interfere with our constitution Gift Banda

The Sunday News

Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) acting president, Gift Banda says his hands are clean in so far as the association’s funds are concerned, while going on to challenge those claiming that money has been siphoned out of the football motherbody to bring forward evidence.

ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa)

Banda’s response comes after a damning letter by Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners written to BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, the firm that is conducting a forensic audit of the Zifa accounts, which has been doing  rounds in football circles.

According to the letter, US$108 000 has been used by the Banda led Zifa board, with US$97 000 used for board expenses while only US$11 000 went to salaries for the secretariat.

In addition, Confederation of African Football, in its recent communication to Zifa, warned the association against using money donated by Caf and Fifa, while Zimbabwe is banned from international football.

“It boggles the mind for a person to come and make such a very bold claim of such kind of figures they claim that has been used and using the word siphoning.

A person who siphons money is a person who is stealing the money, we have never done that.

We are an upright body, we do our things above board,’’ remarked Banda.

His explanation on how the funds were used is that US$30 000 covered salaries for the secretariat for two months, some of the money went to running operations of the association while the expenses for the 23 April extraordinary general meeting were also catered from the cash that was in the Zifa account.

“To begin with, I think it’s of general knowledge that Zifa has to function and salaries need to be paid and a batch of two salaries have been paid in the region of $15 000 per month and for two months that goes over $30 000.

If you remember, we went for an EGM when we were not in charge of the Zifa accounts and the councillors got their transport money, the councillors got their allowances and they were booked in hotels, they slept and they were given monies to return back home.

Those monies were monies that were borrowed and we returned those monies as soon as the accounts were opened so for people to come in and say people were siphoning money for board meetings, I think it’s way off the mark,’’ stated Banda.

He pointed out that he has made several trips to and from Harare before his executive committee had access to the Zifa accounts and never claimed any of the personal funds he used to attend to the association’s business.

“I have travelled to Harare on several occasions before the accounts were opened without claiming any money from Zifa and if I were to claim monies I think I would claim quite a lot of money but I am not into Zifa for money, ours is to try and bring in proper reforms in football so that our football becomes properly run,’’ he said.

Banda outlined that even when Caf wrote a letter on 20 July instructing Zifa not to touch the money in question, the association continued to operate.

“I think even if you realise after Caf have said stop using the money, we stopped using the money but the Zifa programmes didn’t stop because we believe that we are doing things that are going to be beneficial to football.”

Joseph Mamutse

Banda accused the association’s head of secretariat, Joseph Mamutse of deliberately forgetting certain things.

“So, we are wondering where all this is coming from but we know it’s coming from the CEO who has got a very selective amnesia.

One time he says he can’t answer questions because his bail conditions don’t allow him to, the next he comes in with a host of allegations that he writes to Fifa too so that Caf responds in a manner that they have responded,’’ the acting Zifa boss said.

He indicated that they will attend to the letter which recently came from Caf while declaring that his hands are clean in as far as the Zifa funds are concerned.

“We will deal with that at a later stage because we will respond to the Caf letter which is very unfortunate to say the least, but in terms of siphoning the money there is not an iota of truth in that because we have never done that and we have said we believe in corporate governance, if powers that be think that monies have been misappropriated, they are free to come in and audit.

My getting into football has been premised on transparency, that’s why we had a problem and challenges when I called for a forensic audit when we were elected in 2018 and I cannot be the one to call for a forensic audit when I know that my hands are not clean.

I’ve got the cleanest hands as far as the mother body is concerned, my hands are not in a cookie jar,’’ declared Banda.

On claims that Eddie Chivero, a personal friend of his benefitted from Zifa funds, Banda stated “I challenge those who allege to prove it because Eddie Chivero has never benefitted a cent from the national association.

Xolisani Gwesela

They are saying he flew to South Africa which is far  from the truth because Eddie Chivero never travelled to South Africa, the people who travelled to meet the Cosafa president were myself and the acting CEO Xolisani Gwesela.

So, for people to say Eddie Chivero is benefitting from Zifa, we challenge them to bring in the evidence that Eddie Chivero had benefitted any money from Zifa.”

After receiving the communication from Caf, Zifa have since stopped transacting using the bank account which has funds, which Banda clarified that they actually came from Fifa.

“We are a law abiding association, we met as a board and agreed that we will cease operating from the Zifa account that has monies that were given to us by Fifa, Caf has not given us any money so the money that we are talking about is Fifa money, not the Caf money.

But for the avoidance of doubt, we have said were are stopping using it until we appraise Caf where we really think they erred in coming up with that decision,’’ he said.

On legitimacy issues that continue to haunt the Zifa executive committee he leads, Banda said the happenings of 23 April were guided by the association’s constitution.

It was at that gathering that the Zifa congress decided to revoke the mandates for three board members, president Felton Kamambo, Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule. In terms of the Zifa constitution, the three had 30 days to appeal the decision of the congress, which they did not.

“We then can’t have people who are now masquerading as Zifa officials knowing pretty well that their mandate was revoked and they never had any query, it’s absurd for even Caf and Fifa to be listening to those particular people. We are raising that with Fifa in our next communication,’’ said Banda.

Nonetheless, there has been no good news from Fifa regarding the suspension, as the world football governing body maintains that the Kamambo led board must be reinstated for the suspension to be lifted, among other conditions.

“We are taking the communication from Caf as a proper window of opportunity to address certain other issues about legitimacy that we are bona fide members of the Zifa (executive committee), the board that is running Zifa at the present moment were all voted for in December 2018.

None of the people that are there were picked from the SRC, because people need to understand that properly, that we are the bona fide members of the Zifa, our legitimacy is born out at a Zifa congress, an elective congress that happened in 2018.

“That the same Zifa congress decided to revoke some of the members’ mandate it’s the right thing that they have done, they have done it according to the constitution, so no one can question what the Zifa congress has done.

The ones who were supposed to appeal if they thought the EGM happened unprocedurally, they know they were supposed to appeal within a certain period, which is given according to our constitution,’’ stated Banda.

Caf headquarters

He strongly feels that Caf and Fifa cannot be seen to be interfering with the Zifa constitution which is registered with the two bodies.

“I am saying to everyone who cares to listen that the parliament of football made a decision on the 23rd and that decision is binding, neither Fifa nor Caf can interfere with our constitution that is registered with them because everything was done according to the constitution.”

Banda is of the view that the issue of  funds is something insignificant, taking attention from something important.

“The issue of the money for me it’s a sideshow because Fifa, by knowing that we operate according to our constitution, they know the money that got into that account is the money that is supposed to be used by the executive, that Fifa decide to listen to a person who is operating outside the Zifa executive and the Zifa assembly is another issue for another day, we will address it with Fifa because its a first for me to have a CEO that was suspended, having his suspension lifted, the same CEO doesn’t even want to come to work for starters, but he continues using the Zifa letterheads to cause a lot of harm to the association than good, it’s unfortunate,’’ lamented Banda.

Amid all that, the acting Zifa boss has boldly declared those who think that Zifa will be debilitated without the Fifa money are in for a rude awakening.

“I’ve got a message for those who are thinking that they are going to suffocate us to not performing our duties, they are in for a rude shock, because we are going to operate, there is quite a lot of goodwill out there that we do have and we know that we are going to operate because all that we have is for the love of our football, which we want to reform so that when we return to international football, we return with a bang,’’ he stated.

Banda is upbeat that Zimbabwe’s suspension will be lifted but before that happens, the country has to be ready to make a huge return.

“There is no country that has been suspended forever, suspensions do come, we know and we are certain, we will engage SRC so that Fifa can lift our suspension but by that particular time, we need to be ready to play our football.

I can safely say I am 100 percent confident, the suspension is going to be lifted, but before we talk about the lifting of the suspension, we need to engage all stakeholders and carry on our own reforms so that by the time our suspension is lifted we are in a good space that when we are starting to play our football none of these things that have been bedeviling the national association for a very long time, they must remain in the past,’’ Banda said.

Alois Masepe

Last Saturday saw the Zifa strategic planning committee, which is chaired by Alois Masepe meet in Bulawayo to initiate the process of coming up with a strategic document.

Banda is convinced the committee will come up with a good document to take football forward.

“We know the journey that we need to travel, we are going to travel it with everyone who is a soccer loving person.

We still have got a long way to go, just last weekend, the strategic planning committee met and we are expecting something that is very good from them in terms of our football philosophy where we really want to go as a nation as far as football is concerned, we want to have an identity.

So, I can safely say during my leadership, the Fifa suspension is going to be lifted. I know,’’ confidently stated Banda.



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