ZIMBABWE Football Association (ZIFA) ‘s Ecobank account holding USD100 000 received from FIFA through the FIFA Forward programme last week was has been frozen, the Zim Morning Post can reveal.
Zim Morning Post understands that the debt-ridden association rushed to file an urgent chamber application which was set down for Tuesday but was postponed to tomorrow (Wednesday).
The account was frozen after the debt ridden ZIFA defied a High Court order to deposit USD518 331,18 owed to its Director of Administration Lazarus Mhurushomana by Monday.
The money is in respect of salary arrears.
Mhurushomana was retrenched in 2004 and subsequently placed on forced leave but was not agreeable with the severance package offered.
The veteran football administrator took legal action against the country’s football governing body citing unfair labour practice and the matter was referred for arbitration.
Mhurushomana then received an arbitration award in his favor by one TR Madzimure and made an application to register the award with the High Court for the purpose of enforcement under case HC 5721/10.
ZIFA has been neglecting to settle the debt for over a decade compelling Mhurushomana to intensify his legal battle.
ZIFA lawyer Chenaimoyo Gumiro confirmed the development to Zim Morning Post.
“ZIFA indeed received USD100k from FIFA for football development but a former employee one Mr Lazarus Mhurushomana approached the court claiming salary arrears of USD518 331.81.
“The Sheriff then issued a writ of attachment and an order to transfer the said amount was granted resulting in this development (of freezing the account),” Gumiro said.
“We have filed an urgent chamber application which was set down for today but was postponed to tomorrow,” he added.
ZIFA has been haunted by allegations of massive financial mismanagement and a perennial debt legacy.
Zim Morning Post understands that FIFA will send a team of investigators to probe ZIFA’s finances and conduct a forensic audit.
The Zurich based football mother body has a tradition of monitoring finances of their members if a red flag is raised.
Early this year, ZIFA vice president Gift Banda was a victim of persecution by his boss Felton Kamambo when he raised a red flag over the association’s financial status and suspected pilfering of funds by some top officials.
In May last year, FIFA raised financial injection into the development project of various associations through the Forward programme.
Zimbabwe was a beneficiary and was accorded an allocation of at least USD1million per year.
Despite such injection, ZIFA remains a basket case surviving on donations for both men and women national teams to fulfill international assignments.
Recently, the Mighty Warriors got ZWL15 via Ecocash after an international outing.
Sports minister Kirsty Coventry was livid at the neglect of women football by ZIFA.
She registered her dismay on her official Twitter handle Tuesday.
” I asked the ZIFA Chair for a meeting to discuss the women’s qualifying debacle on Sunday he proceeded to ask Gvt for money for the Men’s Team to travel tomorrow! I have had enough of Womens sport not being taken seriously in Zimbabwe,” the tweet read.
She went on to accuse ZIFA of abusing taxpayers money through continuous ‘begging’ of funds from government.
She questioned how the FIFA funds were used.
“Gvt took on #ZimCricket debt but told not to interfere. #ZIFA once again ask for more money but Gvt told not to interfere. This is tax payers money you are ‘playing’ with! Both these associations get huge amounts of money from their international federation – where is it?,” Kirsty questioned via her Twitter account.
The Warriors had a nightmarish trip to the Africa Cup of Nations where top officials allegedly abused funds while some are alleged to have used it as a romantic getaway with their women friends.
According to FIFA, the funds are meant for pitches, competitions, women’s football and for running costs in areas including administration and governance.
“We are significantly increasing our financial support for member associations and football development to 5 million USD per four-year cycle for each member association from 1.6 million USD per cycle.
“This means each association has access to 750,000 US dollars per year for football projects such as “We are increasing our financial support for the six confederations so that they can do more to develop football in their regions,’’ FIFA said in a statement last year.