Zimbabwe: State to Respond to Zifa Bosses' Application

17 September 2021

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and fellow board members Farai Jere, Phillimon Machana and Bryton Briton Malandule have applied for the quashing of the obstruction of justice charges they are facing.

The quartet, who appeared in court on Tuesday, are alleged to have to have moved from Zifa's nostro account into the bank of a private company belonging to one of them in 2019.

They trio allegedly wanted to block a debtor from using a court issued garnishee order grabbing US$161 762 out of the account.

In their application prepared by Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, the ZIFA board members said the State could not furnish them with purported garnishee order, which formulates the basis of their charges.

They also argued that there were no pending judicial proceedings in respect of ZIFA's Ecobank Account.

Adv Zhuwarara, in an application said, the accused were charged with contravening a section of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act), where it is alleged that on January 25, 2019, they caused the transfer of US$740 270 from ZIFA's Ecobank account.

He said it is that transfer which prosecution says was "unlawful and intentionally caused judicial proceedings to be defeated or obstructed".

"After a request for further particulars lodged in terms of Section 177 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 09:07) the prosecution failed to produce a copy of any garnishee order relating Zimbabwe Football Association's Ecobank account 0181197610292101 issued on or before the 25th of January 2019," said the trio in their application.

"The prosecution's failure to produce any garnishee order barring the removal or transfer of monies from Ecobank account 0181197610292101 is quite significant as it demonstrates that there were no pending judicial proceedings in respect of the Zimbabwe Football Association's Ecobank account 0181197610292101.

"The prosecution cannot therefore sustain any allegation that the accused persons defeated or obstructed any judicial proceedings when they occasioned a transfer from the ZIFA Ecobank account on the 25th of January 2019."

The trio said the facts alleged by the prosecution do not reveal an offence on account of the fact that there were no pending judicial proceedings in respect of ZIFA's Ecobank account.

Kamambo and his accomplices said it was disconcerting that the State was insisting on prosecuting them when it cannot establish that there were any pending legal proceedings in respect of ZIFA's Ecobank Account.

The State led by Mrs Tendai Shonhai and Mr Tafara Charambira is expected to respond to the application today.

Regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje presided over the matter.

"Without any court order, garnishee or interdict barring the transfer of ZIFA Funds from their Ecobank account, there can be no sustainable charge of obstructing or defeating the course of justice," they argued.

The ZIFA executive also argued that the State failed to explain whether the attachment by the Sheriff on the account was a judicial process.

Adv Zhuwarara said it was unclear how or why it is alleged the transfer of money from ZIFA's Ecobank account was an "intentional act of defeating legal proceedings".

In the application, they said Machana was left guessing as to why the attachment of funds in a bank account can still be characterised as judicial proceedings in the face of a Supreme Court judgment that points out that funds in ZIFA's Ecobank account could not be attached.

Machana said he could not offer his defence because he was unable to fashion it as it is not clear what conduct the State alleges is unlawful.

The State led by Mrs Tendai Shonhai and Mr Tafara Charambira is expected to respond to the application today.

Regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje presided over the matter.

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