The Asiagate scandal continues to unfold. Reports have been submitted, evidence gathered and conclusions made.
It is interesting to note that throughout the evidence, reports and investigations, the then Chief Executive Officer, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, was implicated as the chief strategist of all that went wrong in ZIFA before, during and after the unfolding of the Asiagate Scandal.
We publish below a compilation of findings by the Investigating Committee:
A) The former Chief Executive Officer, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, the former Programmes Officer Jonathan Musavengana and the FIFA Match Agent Kudzi Shaba are implicated in the arranging of these games and benefitted financially amounts that the committee could not establish. A ZIFA junior staffer, Harry Taruva was also used by the CEO.
B) The complicity of the then ZIFA President, Welling ton Nyatanga cannot be ruled out as his failure to rein in the CEOâ€™s activities bordered on serious dereliction of authority. He let loose the CEO on to the Board and Association resulting in them not functioning. The CEO became untouchable and thus a mini-god.
C) The Head of Delegation became ceremonial as they were carefully handpicked by the CEO. If they did not belong to the syndicate their roles were assigned to others as demonstrated by what happened to Councilors Makuvaro (China) and Mukweva (Bulgaria).
D) In most cases, all the travelling delegation, be they management, technical staff, players, media and hangers-on, knew what was happening and had high expectations on financial rewards with a few possible exceptions such as Luke Masomera, Energy Murambadoro, Mr Makuvaro and Mr Mukweva. Mr Mukwevaâ€™s letter demanding payments when he realised that he was short changed is an indication that some were favoured.
E) The call up of coaches at short notice with no input on what players were to form their teams and with no meaningful practice would indicate that these coaches and their technical staff were willing participants.
F) The ZIFA Board was a big disappointment as they watched the fiasco emerge, grow and mature under their noses with some being beneficiaries. A FIFA official described them as being answerable to the CEO instead of the CEO [answering] to them. This ineptitude led to some Board Members relinquishing their functions to the CEO e.g. appointment of coaches and technical staff, competition relevance and approval.
All ZIFA staff could have benefitted from the scam if they received any monies over and above their meager salaries at odd times immediately after the trip.
G) The discrepancies of what amounts were paid are an indication that there were some favoured recipients an may also be an indication that in retrospect people have decided to connive but in the process being let down by those who have divulged the truth, and the whole truth.
H) The blameworthiness of travelling journalists cannot be underplayed, while the selection process of who goes where for the media houses is their prerogative, the over-reliance on one journalist for most of these games would indicate complicity. When the same journalist goes to town to prove his innocence long before he is called by the Investigating Committee may very well be the demonstration of the old dictum that â€˜the guilty are always afraidâ€™.
I) One respondent, Mr Ernest Sibanda, alleged that he was there when three officials bought cars in Singapore with proceeds from what officials were paid. It is obvious that amounts that were paid were substantial. One player, Mr Danisa Phiri, is alleged to have used his proceeds to purchase a house in Bulawayo.
– The Investigating Committee found that the CEO, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, had a propensity to instil fear in her subordinates and those she dealt with through a cunning way of name-dropping in her conversations. Accordingly, she assumed a position of invincibility as she was held as a person with â€˜connectionsâ€™ and who could make anybodyâ€™s life unbearable if the person did not play along to her whims.
Players, in particular, were afraid to cross her path and amazingly, Board Members also felt intimidated by her.
It is then not surprising that she could, with the assistance of Jonathan Musavengana and other ZIFA junior staff, arrange games under review, manage the logistics of travel for the entire delegation, include non-footballing persons allegedly from the CIO and in the process enhance her status as being untouchable.
– As the scam continued, it became semi-amorphous as other characters joined in to receive proceeds from the betting syndicates. A case in point is of some senior members of the â€˜Supporters Associationâ€™ who would phone the syndicates beneficiaries and threaten them with possible arrest on returning unless a fee was paid to placate the arresting officials.
A fee would then be paid to the â€˜Supporters Associationâ€™ senior members. The distribution of such funds was not divulged to the Investigating Committee.
J) Please note that the officials in particular, as an observation, just after one match of the first match became aware that there was â€˜somethingâ€™ happening, that is they were not in the know. Therefore after one game, they became very active members of the syndicate and that could be the reason why not even one official came back home and made a report officially to ZIFA authorities about these evil happenings. It is only Onismo Makwengura on the Monomutapa F.C trip to Tunisia, who came back and alerted the authorities that will â€œsomethingâ€ was very untoward in our football.
K) Based on the above fact then the officials and players must have the Monomutapa F.C trips, CECAFA Tournament in Kenya and 28th December 2009 Trip to Malaysia added on to their totals of numbers of games and a true picture will reflect which category one really falls into.
L) It must also be noted that because of no paper trail due no clearances of some of the trips by the SRC and no paper trail at ZIFA offices, some personnel are missing on those statistics or are featuring in less games than the actual.
M) The CEO Ms Henrietta Rushwaya and Musavengana Jonathan do not appear on the statistics due to the fact that the Committee used availed documents, though it is a fact that they participated in most of these games as indicated by some respondents.
N) Referees â€“ see Muzambi Interview in Malaysia trip. ZIFA Vice-President, Mr Kenny Marange, by then a FIFA panel referee, submitted his written report on the trips that his team undertook. Of note is that he says their two trips were officially cleared by ZIFa through Referees Committee whilst Mr G. Muzambi submits that the trip was undertaken clandestinely without the approval of ZIFA Referees Committee etc.
O) It is disturbing in our findings that some reputable personnel would give an inclusive verbal interview to the Committee into the happenings of the trips and games and then submit a written submission which was either tonned down or deviating from their earlier oral submissions. Could this be that they would have consulted with their â€˜peersâ€™ and then try to alter the gravity of the events and circumstances?
P) Earnest Sibanda gave a credible oral and written submission and it helped the Committee in its business a lot. He also showed a lot of remorse.
Q) A former student at Kutama Boys High, namely Mundicha Tawanda Amos, was interviewed by the Committee Secretary during investigations of 28 December 2009 trip to Malaysia. He then submitted his written report on the 13th of April 2011 including his passport showing the travel dates, Bulgaria visa and airport gate passes were included.
R) Mthulisi Maphosa also was interviewed and submitted his written report on the trips that his team undertook. He submits and contends that Rodwell Dlakama sent him some SMSâ€™s whilst he was in DRC trying to influence him unduly.
The Investigating Committee also made the following observations:
1. The CEO was the mastermind of these match-fixing games.
2. The CEO received huge payouts because each game the match organising agents were paying between US30 â€“ 50 thousand, then you look at the number that we played (X 15 matches at least).
3. The ZIFA office staff were all part of the scam as they knew about it and benefitted through it.
4. All the Technical Teams that were involved from Merdeka Cup to CECAFA Tournament in Kenya knew exactly what was happening.
5. Senior players who were called more than once knew of what was happening.
6. Dhlakama, Mangwiro, Clayton, â€œFarâ€ Ndlovu of Monomotapa were involved in these games as evidenced by the Monomotapa games.
7. The ZIFA President was the biggest let down as he encouraged this practice by being a recipient of loots of evils as from the Merdeka Cup.
8. The ZIFA president was under the shackles of the CEO.
9. The Board was intimidated by the CEO into submission through bringing in the CIO into the National Teams set-up.
10. The National VP Office was abused by the CEO and so was the SRC Office through [the CEO] exchanging her own money into US$ at very low rates.
11. The CEO would stop at nothing in her quest to achieve her desired evil gains. She drew in people of all walks of life who are influential so as to gain achieving her objectives.
12. The Board was totally non-functional as surmised by one who stated that the Councillors and Board Members were afraid of her, also buttressed by a previous Board Member, Mr G Muzambi, who said â€˜we had no spine to tackle herâ€™.
13. The performance of the National Teams was deliberately compromised by deliberate wrong appointments of coaches, no team preparations, appointment procedures being flouted, relevant portfolio Board Members being sidelined, like Finance Board Member responsible for Finances and Board Member in charge of National Teams. It was the CEO appointing coaches and responsible for finances.
14. Board Emergency Committee meetings were abused to push personal agendas by the President and CEO and as a result decisions were just made and passed without checks and balances and no ratifications were done.
15. The CEO through the indulgency of the President brought n CIO into the National Team set-up as part of protocol when they were not relevant to all to football.
16. The CEO controlled the media and anyone who crossed her line then became public scrutiny through the media.
17. The rot which is in all the football structures was manifested during that period. All arms of the ZIFA Board will take a long time or will only start operating when all the rot has been cleaned.
18. Not even one player or official ever came back home to report officially or launch officially a complaint to ZIFA that they had been bribed or paid money to lose or give away a match. All the participants wanted to keep the match-fixing a good close guarded secret and would protect each other.
We will continue to publish more on the Asiagate Scandal in our next bulletins.