Tendai Rupapa, Harare Bureau
Former Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, axed board member Edzai Kasinauyo and fired Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube were yesterday cleared of match-fixing by the magistrates’ court.
Regional magistrate Lucy Mungwari said the State failed to prove a prima-facie case against the trio.
She said there was no evidence linking the trio to the Limpopogate scandal.
Ms Mungwari slammed the State and its witnesses for lack of seriousness.
Rushwaya, Kasinauyo and Dube were found not guilty following their applications for discharge at the close of the State case.
“This is a case which should have not seen the doors of this court. There was lack of seriousness on the part of both the State and the witnesses,” she said.
“There is no iota of evidence linking the accused persons to the offence. The law is clear that where there is no evidence linking accused persons to an offence, the court has no discretion, it ought to acquit.
“The State has not proved a prima-facie case and accordingly the accused persons are discharged and found not guilty,” she said.
Mungwari further discredited the witnesses’ testimonies.
She said the State’s “star witness” Leeroy Waguta, who confessed to be a match-fixer and playing a role in the Swaziland games, should have been an accomplice.
“Therefore, evidence of accomplices must be approached with extreme caution. He told the court that he could do anything for money. However, he left the court wondering what had motivated him to testify against the trio.
“The court wonders if there were no unforeseen forces behind. Unfortunately, for the State, this was their star witness,” she said.
Mungwari said she expected more from Warriors’ coach Callisto Pasuwa who failed to bring to court the text messages on which the case was built.
“The court expected that he would bring the messages which were forwarded to him by Waguta in which the alleged match-fixing scandal was being discussed. However, he professed ignorance and said he did not believe the messages and left every other question to the author of the messages, who is Waguta.
“He had nothing to offer to the State or incriminating evidence,” she said.
Mungwari said Maxwell Jongwe’s evidence had holes as well.
“He blew the matter out of proportion and went about different offices up to that of His Excellency. He was overzealous and even adopted investigating instructions and this ate into his credibility,” she said.
Mungwari said that Tatenda Mukuruva and Jonathan Mashingaidze’s testimonies were not incriminating. Mukuruva was too reluctant and could not wait to get off the witness stand.
The trio was represented by Simon Mupindu, Harrison Nkomo and Simon Simango.
The State alleged that in February this year, Rushwaya and her accomplices allegedly agreed to fix the Afcon qualifier matches between Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
The matches were scheduled for March 25 and 28 in Mbabane and Harare, respectively.
It was alleged that they agreed to offer bribes to Zimbabwe national soccer team players as an inducement to lose the games.
The State claimed Kasinauyo was tasked to put pressure on Pasuwa to prematurely announce the squad or leak the list of players to the syndicate and agreed to target three players – the goalkeeper and two defenders. The State was also alleging that Waguta alerted the coach about the plot to fix the matches.
Pasuwa, it was alleged, constantly received information from Waguta and at the same time Kasinauyo kept on pressuring him to release the list of players. As a result, Pasuwa could not contain the pressure and finally informed Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa.