THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is at risk of being stripped of its few remaining assets by the football body’s president, Philip Chiyangwa and his associates, amid revelations that the properties are now registered in the names of his workers and associates.
By XOLISANI NCUBE
Documents in possession of Standardsport suggest that the football governing body —now housed at Chiyangwa’s private business premises for $10 000 monthly rentals — has already “sold” a house in Kensington for $160 000 through its private company — Zifa Private Limited — whose directors are the association’s board member finance, Philemon Machana and Chiyangwa’s employee, Marshal Jonga.
According to a deed of transfer prepared by Ngarava, Moyo and Chikono on April 2017, Jonga sold the house along McLoughlin Road in Kensington to Olivetouch Investment.
Documents at hand suggest that Jonga, who is employed by Pinnacle Holdings as general manager — a company run by Chiyangwa — “sold” the house on behalf of Zifa Private Limited illegally as the association tried to escape attention from its creditors.
The matter is now at the High Court with lawyers representing Maxwell Ndudzo, the buyer of the property through the sheriff of the High Court, but duped in the process, alleging that Jonga and officials from the deeds office corruptly sold the house to Olivetouch Investment for $160 000 when the house was supposed to be sold by the sheriff of the High Court on behalf of creditors.
“We believe that the transfer of the property to Olivetouch Investment was done fraudulently and corruptly and we cannot rule out the involvement of the office of the sheriff in these shenanigans,” read a letter from F.G Gijima representing Ndudzo of Maxhaivo Electricals and hardware, who had already paid for the same property through the sheriff of the High Court.
Documents at hand suggest that Ndudzo had offered to buy the house as the highest bidder through a public auction done by the sheriff of the High Court as was instructed by the court so that Zifa would settle money owed to some of its creditors among them, Led Travel and Tours.
An agreement of sale had been signed, only for Ndudzo to discover that Jonga had sold the house “clandestinely” to Olivetouch Investment.
Documents attached to the court under case number HC6434/17 alleged that Olivetouch Investment directors had since denied buying the property — a development, which implies that Jonga could have done the transaction corruptly and in the process exposing the association to the risk of losing the asset to the Chiyangwa-linked clique.
“I have cared to do some searches at the company’s office to get more information about the first respondent [Olivetouch Investment]. I only got a CR14, which shows an address for the alleged directors. I visited the address stated thereon and talked to one Muzarurwi Masimba who confirmed that he stays at the address stated but does not know anything about it and is not a director of the first respondent. This renders the alleged transfer of the property to first respondent suspicious,” read an affidavit filed by Ndudzo.
A quick search at the registrar of companies confirmed that Muzarurwi, whose residential address is No 4 Alberta Road, Braeside, Harare, and Tichafa Makova, also of the same address, are directors of Olivetouch Investment since January 13 2016.
Besides that, the Zifa headquarters in Harare, which is registered as a property for Zifa Private Limited, was also put on sale recently and the association’s CEO, Joseph Mamutse directed a “potential buyer” whom Standardsport had commissioned to deposit their money into a Pinnacle Property bank account — raising more questions as to who was to benefit from the disposal of the asset.
Chiyangwa forced the secretariat to abandon the Zifa headquarters in 2015 after his election on allegations that it was haunted due to persistent raids by creditors.
He moved the head office to his private premises where Zifa is allegedly paying at least $10 000 every month in rentals and the association hires furniture from Hansporte Investment — a private entity whose directors are Jonga and one Beatrice Musavengana, all employed by Chiyangwa at his private business.
Yesterday, Machana refused to comment on the matter after being asked why Zifa moved to Chiyangwa’s private business.
“Hi Ncube. Kindly note that l have no comment on your email. Keep well,” was all Machana could say.
Machana also refused to comment on how much the association was paying to Chiyangwa and if the agreement was to the best interest of the cash-strapped football governing body that is depending on funds from the Confederation of African Football and grants from Fifa.
Already, the Zifa headquarters in the city centre have undergone renovations, but still, the association is housed at 160 Enterprise Road.
Further investigations by Standardsport revealed that besides the sale of the association’s property, Jonga through his Hansporte Investment, was getting $25 per month for leasing office furniture to the association and the deal has a life span of 10 years.
According to a memorandum of agreement signed between Jonga, representing Hansporte, and the then Zifa CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze on December 8 2015, three days after Chiyangwa had been elected Zifa president, Hansporte Investment leased office furniture to Zifa for 10 years at $25 per month.
A further search on Hansporte Investment revealed that it was a dormant company whose initial directors were Steward Kavendekete and MacDonald Chinyani. They both resigned in November 2015 to pave way for the new directors — Jonga and Musavengana who are all employees at Chiyangwa’s business ventures.
Documents in our possession state that Hansporte Investment was engaged to renovate Zifa Village and even operate it as a private business venture on behalf of the association in return for money for services rendered by the entity although the property was built through a grant from Fifa.
Last year the senior national team — the Warriors — refused to be housed at the Village owing to the standard the private company had renovated it to. The players argued that since Zifa was to pay Hansporte Investment, it was better for them to be booked at a city hotel than stay at a poorly spruced-up venue.
It has also since emerged that Chiyangwa, Machana and Mamutse were the only signatories to the association’s account and with all deals, from rent to tenders, being done by companies with strong ties to the Zifa president, risks of plunder and financial maladministration were high.
Chiyangwa and Mamutse did not respond to questions sent to them on the matter. – Standard