Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa has pleaded with the Association’s creditors to be patient until an audit into the financial standing of the football mother body is completed.
The Association is currently under siege from various creditors some of whom have successfully obtained writs from the High Court to attach the organisation’s properties so as to recover long-standing debts.
According to figures availed by the previous board, Zifa are in arrears of over $6m.
Under the previous executive led by Dube, Zifa have lost valuable properties which included two buses, vehicles, office furniture, equipment donated by Fifa and furniture at Zifa Village.
Their headquarters in Harare and Bulawayo and another property in Kensington have also been targeted by creditors.
Chiyangwa said he was particularly saddened by attempts this week by a group of former employees who had tried to attach the Association’s property to recover what they are owed in salaries and benefits.
The Harare property mogul yesterday pleaded with the creditors and insisted they have a payment plan which they will only be able to implement after they had carried out a forensic audit.
The new board have queried the extent of the Zifa debts and believe an audit was necessary to ascertain the exact figures since they have stumbled upon leads where some service providers have fiddled with their records.
“In certain instances of creditors, there was one lodge which I understand changed its invoices from $45 to $160 per day. I think the Warriors stayed there for quite a number of days.
“So that is one of those things we saw and thought that maybe with a thorough audit we could be able to correct figures.
“The intention of the forensic audit is that those that are owed for the time being should wait until their figures are properly checked.
“Following that we will be able to discuss the report and call in those that we owe to discuss the instances where we have had variances so that we can agree.
“We are on a campaign to raise funds and we are doing very well for the time being.
“So by the time the audit is finished we may be able to settle the debts but I do not think that it is right for several creditors, as they have tried in the past few weeks, to come here and say we want to attach the property.
“When we got here there was no furniture. However, we found a company that is now leasing furniture which is in the board room and at the reception.
“So everything that they want to attach does not belong to us, we are hiring.”
Chiyangwa said he diid not understand why there was a sudden rush when some creditors have been waiting for about six years.
“Anyone who is owed by Zifa must be patient, at least for now, because they have been waiting since 2009 to 2015; that’s a good six years.
“They must wait now for a couple of months until the final audit which will prove what we owe them. Then from there we negotiate how we settle.
“Since we took office we found ourselves with a lot of challenges, uppermost was the question of debts and payment of former coach Tom Saintfeit so that we would not be expelled from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
“In trying to correct that, we did discuss that we should have a forensic audit first for all the debts that are here at Zifa which span from 2009 to 2015,” said Chiyangwa.
Zifa board member for Finance Philmon Machana revealed that a reputable audit firm will soon move into Zifa House to look into the Association’s books.
“In the true spirit of accountability and fairness we invited few auditing firms to put quotations, not just to cherry-pick one. We invited Deloitte, we invited KPMG, and we invited Pricewaterhouse.
“We had meetings with them.
“Unfortunately some of them had closed for holidays but they had to come back specifically for those meetings in which we held to talk about the terms of reference, the extent to which we would want of their involvement to come up with the forensic audit, which timespan we are talking about and in this case the post-dollarisation since 2009 so that it would enable them to come up with a correct quotation.
“We are glad to say that we have since received the quotations which we have since presented to the last board meeting. Now we are at a stage where we are engaging the auditors,” said Machana.
Meanwhile, the Zifa Board met with the leaders of the PSL clubs yesterday and 15 of the 16 bosses of the top-flight teams indicated that they still wanted Twine Phiri to remain as their leader.