14 December 2017

Zimbabwe: Mashingaidze Gets Life Ban

The nasty fight between the Philip Chiyangwa leadership and former ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze degenerated to new levels yesterday when the association imposed a life ban from football on their former secretary-general and threatened to file criminal charges against him. Mashingaidze, who is accused of theft, fraud and costly ineptitude during his tenure as head of ZIFA secretariat, however laughed off the sanctions as a "joke of the year" and threatened that he would expose the alleged dirt at the association in a statement set to be issued today.

The ZIFA board on Tuesday resolved to ban Mashingaidze for life and the decision now awaits rubber-stamping by the congress, which is the highest decision-making body of domestic football. ZIFA communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela said in a statement that Mashingaidze should prepare to answer for the fraudulent activities that marred his tenure as head of secretariat, leading to the ballooning of debts from $600 000 to over $6 million.

According to a report released by the SRC's Commission of Inquiry in September 2015, it is also alleged that Mashingaidze could not account for $700 000, which the Chiyangwa executive are now pressing for with interest. ZIFA also made a double blow on Mashingaidze. "The Zimbabwe Football Association Executive Committee has sued and indefinitely banned its former general-secretary, Jonathan Mashingaidze, on charges of theft and fraudulently accruing a huge debt for ZIFA during his tenure as the head of secretariat.

"Apart from the life ban, Mashingaidze has been summoned to answer to a charge of theft of association funds in excess of US$700 000 which the plaintiff is claiming, with interest.

"Below are excerpts from the ban notification:

"Reference is made to the decision of the ZIFA Executive Committee on the 12th of December 2017, where it was resolved that in terms of Article 34(n) of the ZIFA constitution, you are forthwith expelled and banned for life from participation in association football in Zimbabwe in any role, position, or capacity whatsoever, subject to the confirmation of your expulsion and life ban by the ZIFA congress in terms of the ZIFA constitution."

"Reasons for Mashingaidze's expulsion are as follows:

"'Theft of Association funds in excess of US$700 000 as established by the Sports and Recreation Commission's Commission of Inquiry Report dated September 2015.

"Fraudulently creating a US$7 million debt on behalf of the association through unilaterally signing acknowledgements of debt, where no services were rendered . . . as established by the SRC Report.

"Causing Zimbabwe to be expelled from the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying round by failing to comply with FIFA directives.

"Accordingly, you have provisionally ceased to be a member of the football community globally and therefore you must therefore forthwith cease to act, represent, and associate yourself with ZIFA or any of its members in any manner whatsoever," read the statement.

However, Mashingaidze dismissed the ban and the charges being laid against him as fabrications by the ZIFA board following the eruption of running battles between the parties. The former ZIFA chief executive said he will fight to the end to clear himself. "This is the joke of the year. I haven't received communication from those guys and I am not rushing to respond to that because I don't want to dignify rank idiocy. I am going to issue a comprehensive statement tomorrow (today), which I hope will help liberate our football from the G40 criminals.

"I have nothing to fear. I am sure the statement that I am going to give will make the whole of Zimbabwe appreciate who Philip Chiyangwa really is. It's surprising he has the guts to accuse me of things that are non-existent, yet he has a cupboard full of skeletons," claimed Mashingaidze. Mashingaidze fell out with ZIFA when the association decided against renewing his contract at its expiry, with the board arguing that he had failed to meet their expectations for the demanding job.

ZIFA have also remained adamant that the association would not have been saddled by huge debts had Mashingaidze been more prudent during his tenure as head of the secretariat.

It was not immediately clear by last night whether ZIFA would also engage the Sports Commission as the authors of the damning report on the goings-on at the soccer mother body during Mashingaidze's tenure as chief executive.

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