2 May 2012

Zimbabwe: Set Trial Date for Rushwaya, State Told

THE State has been given up to a month to set a trial date for former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya who faces fraud and other match-fixing related charges. Failure to set the date will result in Rushwaya being removed from rema-nd.

Rushwaya, the alleged mastermind of the Asiagate scandal in which top Zifa officials were reportedly involved in match-fixing with the national team in Asia, is facing 11 counts of concealing transactions from a principal, two counts of fraud and 15 others of bribery involving US$1 million. If the State fails to come up with a trial date by May 24 this year Magistrate Ms Anita Tshuma said Rushwaya would be removed from remand without any court application.

This came after the State had failed to bring the matter to trial for quite a long time because the investigations were not yet complete. Last week the parties agreed that May 24 would be the last remand for Rushwaya. The court scrapped reporting conditions for Rushwaya, barely a month after she got her passport back.

Rushwaya was reporting to the police once every fortnight, but the condition was deleted. Ms Tshuma presided over the case, while prosecutor Mr Tapiwa Kasema represented the State.

Harare lawyer Mr Jonathan Samkange of Venturas and Samkange law firm represented Rushwaya.

Mr Kasema alleged that Rushwaya, as an agent of Zifa, connived with former programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana and Asian betting syndicate leader Raja Perumal and unlawfully authorised the national soccer team and Monomotapa FC to attend international sporting tours.

They allegedly arranged that the full nature of transactions would not be disclosed to the Zifa board and the Sports and Recreation Commission.

It is alleged that Perumal funded the trips to Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Oman, Jordan, Bulgaria, China, Thailand and Yemen.

Rushwaya, between 2007 and 2009, allegedly engaged match officials, players, technical staff and media personnel in respect of all the 15 international games played and received US$1 million to throw away matches.

According to the State, witnesses will testify that they received clear instructions to concede goals at given intervals.

On the two counts of fraud, Rushwaya, in July 2009, allegedly arranged matches between the senior national football team and the Malaysian national team, which were not approved by Zifa. All expenses for the trip were allegedly paid in Malaysia. Rushwaya, with the intention to defraud Zifa and the SRC, sent Monomotapa FC to Malaysia misrepresenting that it was the national team.

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