SPORTS and Recreation Commission (SRC) chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa says Zimbabwe has to cleanse its football of corruption first before thinking of having its suspension lifted by the world football governing body Fifa.
This comes after findings from a forensic audit report into the financial activities of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) exposed massive financial irregularities by the Felton Kamambo-led board.
The much-awaited forensic audit report into the financial activities of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) was released to the public on Thursday amidst expectations from local football stakeholders.
The 54-page report which was produced by BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, who conducted the audit, revealed that over US$600,000 and $73,000,000 could not be accounted for in transactions made by the Kamambo-led ZIfa board.
The SRC has now decided to engage the RBZ, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and the police to get to the bottom of the matter.
Mlotshwa said it was important to clean local football of corruption before any efforts to reengage with the global football governing body Fifa.
“Let’s us allow the process to unfold so that when we return back to Fifa we are clean. The intention is to fix football administration in Zimbabwe, and not to just please FIFA. Let’s not be beholden to Fifa, if we do that, the game will never improve.”
In addition to the large sums of money which could not be accounted for, the forensic audit report released on Thursday also exposed some questionable transactions at Zifa.In one of the dubious dealings, a company owned by Zifa councillor Marshal Jonga was contracted to supply football equipment. Despite being fully paid for the equipment, some of the goods are yet to be delivered to the association.
The audit also exposed allegations of misappropriation of Fifa grants, including Covid-19 relief aid. Former Zifa chief executive Joseph Mamutse was also cited for allegedly withdrawing cash amounting to US$30,000 on three occasions even though the transactions were not found in the football association’s accounting records. No supporting documents were availed to show how the funds were used.
BDO indicated in the report that they could not access critical information on the association’s transactions from two financial institutions that were among Zifa’s key bankers. The ZIFA board is now expected to table the report at their next meeting before it is taken to Congress for discussion and adoption.
The forensic audit’s findings have laid bare the full reasons behind SRC’s decision to suspend the Zifa board in November last year on allegations of corruption, embezzlement of funds as well as sexual harassment of female match officials.
The move to suspend the Zifa officials resulted in the country’s suspension by Fifa from all forms of international football early this year.