The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Asiagate Scandal - Nyatanga Soley to Blame Says Mutepfa

Former Zifa board member Mwandibhuya Mutepfa yesterday accused his nephew and former boss Wellington Nyatanga of presiding over the destruction of the national football association. Mutepfa said this while testifying in the ongoing trial of former Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya

who is accused of corruptly concealing transactions from a principal. He said they tried their best to correct things in the association.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer, Mr Charles Chinyama, sought an explanation how Mutepfa became a member of the Zifa board.

"I was co-opted by the Zifa board and Zifa assembly ratified it," said Mutepfa.

Mr Chinyama suggested that he was co-opted by his nephew (Nyatanga), which Mutepfa denied saying all the nine board members decided that he join the board.

"If I put it to you that your letter of appointment was not written by the secretariat, it was corrupt, bent on nepotism what would be your comment?" asked Mr Chinyama.

Mutepfa also denied making any report to the police or Anti-Corruption Commission. He said officials from the Anti-Corruption Commission had visited him in Kwekwe twice over the matter. He also said he was not aware that Rushwaya had a contract after the defence showed him a contract. Mr Chinyama said at one time Mutepfa and other board members were tasked to craft a contract for Rushwaya. Mutepfa, however, conceded that Rushwaya was not answerable to him.

Mr Chinyama also suggested that Mutepfa was asked to join a sinking ship by a relative and he did not take due diligence before accepting the offer. Mr Chinyama also told the court that the Asiagate Report referred to the corrupt activities of the Zifa board and that Mutepfa was a novice in the whole political game.

"When the head comes and say he had full knowledge of the games would you say there is no disclosure?" asked Mr Chinyama.

Mutepfa said only Nyatanga and Rushwaya knew of the trips. He also denied knowledge that Mr Tapiwa Matangaidze received US$20 000 from the Yemen Football Club of which US$10 000 was for the players and the remainder for Zifa. Mr Chinyama also asked him if he knew that Zifa had a contract with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority adding that Mutepfa had tarnished the name of Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi.

He said Nyatanga, who was a board member in ZTA, had signed an agreement with the authority. Mutepfa conceded that football matters were not "generally' taken to court after an affidavit deposed by Zifa president Cuthbert Dube at the High Court made such averments.

In re-examination by prosecutor Mr Sidom Chinzete Mutepfa said the matter found its way to court because it was treated as a criminal offence.

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