The Herald (Harare)

13 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Asiagate - Ex-Zifa FM Denies Funding Asia Trips

Former Zifa finance manager Swati Munyaradzi yesterday told the court that he never funded the unsanctioned trips to Asia and knew nothing about the source of funds for the national team trips to the Far East since no budgets were presented to him.

Munyaradzi was testifying in the ongoing trial of former Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, accused of corruptly concealing transactions from a principal.

Munyaradzi said he assumed office in October 2008 to October 2012. At that time, he said, his duties were to provide allowances for the national team.

"If there were any travel arrangements to be made, we would know through the team manager if a budget was presented. We would then sit down as the accounts department," he said.

He said it was impossible for the national team to go on a trip without his knowledge. Munyaradzi said of the nine counts that Rushwaya is facing, he knew nothing since he was not involved. He said he came to know of the allegations through the press.

Munyaradzi said his department was never presented with any budget prior to trips in all the games played.

Prosecutor Mr Sidom Chinzete assisted by Mr Oliva Marwa, who was leading testimony from Munyaradzi, asked him whether Zifa provided the team with the funds.

"I do not know where they got the money and never found out if they travelled without being funded by Zifa," he said.

Under cross-examination the defence lawyer Mr Charles Chinyama, asked him if he had an idea whether the trips were funded by the teams' management in those countries.

"Is it true that all the nine matches said, you do not know how and where the money came from? You cannot deny the suggestion that those teams' management funded the trips," asked Mr Chinyama.

Munyaradzi admitted that he had no idea of the source of the funds.

Former administration officer, Christopher Manuel also testified yesterday. He told the court that at the time he was responsible for football kits if the senior team had a match.

He said he came to know about the match involving Monomotapa FC in Malaysia through the Press.

Prosecutor Chinzete asked him whether he gave the team kits for the national team to the club.

"I was informed by competition officer Jonathan Musavengana to hand over the kits to Ndlovu, but I refused since I was not informed of where the under 20 were going to play the game," he said.

Chitungwiza regional magistrate Ms Estere Chivasa adjourned the case to February 20 when Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi is expected to testify.

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