WORLD football governing body Fifa has been requested to “allow for due process” in Zimbabwe after a forensic audit released on Thursday exposed massive fraud by fired executives of the country’s national football federation, Zifa.
Fifa earlier this year slapped Zimbabwe with an international suspension after the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) sacked the same officials whose financial shenanigans have now been uncovered by independent audit firm BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants.
The audit reveals that officials on the sacked Zifa board, and others with close links to the federation, swindled the association out of some US$617 000 and local currency converted to slightly over US$100 000, between December 2018 and November 2021.
Fifa threw Zimbabwe out of international football in March, accusing the SRC of unnecessary and unlawful involvement in Zifa’s affairs.
While SRC chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa said on Thursday that the country was not in a hurry to be reinstated by Fifa, even if the suspension last a “lifetime”, he revealed a much closer working relationship with the Zurich-based organisation.
“Fifa cooperated with the auditors in providing some of the information required of them,” Mlotshwa told The NewsHawks.
“We are confident that they will allow for due process to subsist under the laws of Zimbabwe, and that where they have jurisdiction, the relevant agencies of Fifa will also complement domestic actions.”
The SRC, Mlotshwa said, will push for prosecution of the officials implicated in the audit report.
“The SRC will bring the contents of the report to the attention of the relevant authorities for action whether it be further investigation or prosecution,” he said. “By relevant authorities I mean the ZRP, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe), Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority), Zacc (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) and the Prosecutor-General’s Office. Fifa will get a copy of the report. We expect Zifa to act as well.”
The SRC appears vindicated following the release of the damning exposé.
And Mlotshwa has not missed the opportunity to draw the attention of the country’s Parliament, where the sports regulatory body he leads came under attack from some lawmakers a few months ago for triggering the Fifa ban after taking action against Zifa.
“Hopefully, my dear friend, honourable Omega Sibanda (MP and former Zifa vice-president) will in time cause the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport to summon the SRC to formally present the forensic report to that august committee,” Mlotshwa said.