EMBATTLED former Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa faces fresh allegations of fraudulently forcing the broke football governing body to fund his personal expenses.
BY HENRY MHARA
It has emerged that he caused Zifa to pay over US$30 000 to fund his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after he failed an integrity test conducted by the Fifa ethics committee.
Documents at hand show that Chiyangwa was eyeing a post in one of Fifa’s standing committees and needed to go through a rigorous integrity test by the world football governing body for him to be eligible.
Chiyangwa decided to approach CAS to appeal the decision and needed to pay $30 500 for his case to be heard.
With the guidance from Chiyangwa’s lawyer Itayi Ndudzo, who doubled as the Zifa legal advisor, the football body’s board members met and resolved to meet the costs of the appeal.
The meeting was chaired by former Zifa vice-president, Omega Sibanda, Chiyangwa’s top ally.
“The allegation is that Mr Chiyangwa refused to respond to a letter from the review committee dated December 6, 2016. In fact, Mr Chiyangwa avers that he did not receive/see the said letter. And the Zifa board having satisfied itself from the counsel (Ndudzo), Zifa has resolved that it is to meet all costs for Mr Chiyangwa,” read part of the Zifa board resolution on the matter, dated June 10, 2017.
Payments were then made to Chiyangwa, with documentary evidence showing that he received a first tranche of US$11 000, which was transferred into his account on July 31, 2017.
On August 5, 2017, he was paid US$10 000, and he received a similar amount two days later.
However, Zifa’s new lawyers have told the body that they could have been misled by counsel to pay a bill which was of a personal nature and had nothing to do with the local football governing body.
Zifa feel Ndudzo, being Chiyangwa’s personal lawyer, was “too conflicted” to offer counsel in the matter.
The association has reported the case to the police’s Commercial Crimes Unit at the Harare Central Police Station in its bid to recover the money.
“Sometime in 2017, Mr P Chiyangwa caused to be paid a total sum of $35 000 to CAS being the Fifa arbitration tribunal. The money paid was for Mr P Chiyangwa’s personal liability. It was not a liability imposed on Zifa.
“As such Mr P Chiyangwa caused Zifa to pay for his personal liability. The said payment was not for Zifa business and Zifa had no liability to pay such an amount to CAS.
“Mr P Chiyangwa never reimbursed Zifa the said money and accordingly, Zifa was prejudiced of its money,” part of the report made to the police read.
The case’s DR number is 37/11/19.
This is one of the several cases of corruption, fraud and criminal abuse of office that have been reported to the police against him.
Chiyangwa is denying the allegations, insisting he did not steal from Zifa during his tenure.
The flamboyant businessman has previously been accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from Zifa during his tenure including withdrawing US$30 000 from a Zifa nostro account, months after he had ceased being an official, in addition to using Zifa money to fund his lavish birthday party in 2017 where Fifa president Gianni Infantino was a guest.
Other allegations that have been levelled against him include converting Zifa donations for his own personal use, using Zifa’s money to spoil his friends, business associates and family by taking them on trips around the world, as well as leasing the Zifa Village to his company.