PARLIAMENT’S bid for the reinstatement of the Zifa board, which will end Zimbabwe’s indefinite suspension from international football, is likely to hit a snag due to an audit report expected to expose rampant corruption by the sacked officials.
The forensic audit into the affairs of Zifa is now complete –and although it has not been made public – sources say the report has detected embezzlement, theft and other financial crime by senior official of the Zimbabwean FA, which resulted in their sacking by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) last year.
Zimbabwe was suspended by Fifa earlier this year for taking the drastic measure against the national federation officials, with the world football governing body maintaining that only reinstatement of the board will prompt the Zurich-based organisation to lift the country’s ban.
This week, a Zimbabwean Parliamentarian committee presented a report pleading with the SRC and Sports minister Kirsty Coventry to restore the positions of the expelled Zifa board, headed by Felton Kamambo.
Asked if the SRC will be compelled to listen to the MPs, SRC chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa said on Thursday: “The SRC board’s position is that it has yet to formally consider the committee’s report. It will do so in due course.”
The SRC has since put in place a committee to “restructure” football in the country during the international ban, whilst a council of Zifa has appointed an interim executive following the removal of Kamambo and others.
The committee was going through the audit report at the time of writing.
“The draft audit is being considered by the restructuring committee today (Thursday),” Mlotshwa told The NewsHawks. “Next week the SRC board will also consider the draft before its finalised by the auditors. Thereafter it will be formally availed to Zifa (interim board) who have agreed to place the same before its congress. The SRC is committed to making the report public. It will honour this commitment.”
Meanwhile, top sources have ruled out an immediate return to
office of the sacked board, which is likely to have charges laid against it following completion of the audit.
“It’s a damning exposé of how Fifa funds were blatantly looted at Zifa over three years,” said an insider. “I understand the report will also be handed over to Fifa. Now, it will be very interesting how the same Fifa, which protects officials of member national associations, will act on this one. To demand that this Zifa board be reinstated despite the findings in this prove? It’s a tricky one.”
The NewsHawks has covered some of shadowy activities believed to have be laid bare by the audit, including how Zifa was siphoned off US$1 million in a controversial kit deal as well as misuse of Covid-19 funds.