32 Zifa councillors set to appear in court over allegations of taking bribes

11 Aug, 2020 - 11:08 0 Views
32 Zifa councillors set to appear in court over allegations of taking bribes Felton Kamambo

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THIRTY-TWO Zifa councillors accused of receiving bribes in the run-up to the 2018 Zifa national elections that ushered in Felton Kamambo’s administration are set to appear in court on August 25.

According to police sources, all but five of the 32 councillors were cooperating with police investigations and their statements were recorded.

The five hostile councillors are from Midlands province and refused to give recorded statements, but they’re still set to appear in court in what would be a historic criminal case in the history of Zimbabwean football.

The 32 are alleged to have received bribes from a candidate in the build-up to the polls that saw Kamambo shocking then incumbent Phillip Chiyangwa for the Zifa top post.

Kamambo got 35 votes to Chiyangwa’s 24, while another challenger Gift Banda beat Omega Sibanda by 37 to 22 votes for the association’s vice presidency post.

Investigations later revealed that some councillors’ mobile money wallets were credited with various amounts totaling $8 110. The official exchange rate then of the local currency and US dollar was 1:1.

Police also interviewed the Zifa executive committee member accused of ‘bribing’ the councillors and he reportedly confirmed sending the money, but said it was for ‘lunch’ and other  ‘incidentals’. 

Those targeted received amounts ranging from $100 to $1 700, depending on how ‘influential’ that councillor was.

A councillor from Matabeleland North, one from Bulawayo and others from Harare are reported to have been the biggest beneficiaries.

One of the 32 accused councillors Mehluli Thebe, a Zifa Southern Region executive committee member, confessed in June to receiving $300 from one Robert, who said it was from Kamambo. 

Thebe, however, insisted that the money sent via Ecocash was never hush money, but reimbursement for his traveling expenses to and from Hwange as well as accommodation.

Thebe said there was no way he would have used his own money to travel to Bulawayo to listen to a candidate, so those that wanted his ear met all his expenses.

Thebe also argued that his vote was a secret and no one can conclusively say the $300 he received influenced his voting.

A police source yesterday told Chronicle Sport that the dockets were ready and they’re confident they have a strong case for some convictions.

“Trial date is August 25, all the papers are ready. We interviewed all, but five councillors in this case. The five from the Midlands were not cooperating, but that’s not a big issue, they will have their day in court,” said the police source.

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