The disciplinary hearing for the suspended Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chief executive officer, Henrietta Rushwaya, failed to take off again on Wednesday because her lawyer Selby Hwacha had a matter before the High Court.
High Court matters take precedence over lower courts. Hwacha subsequently asked for postponement of the hearing to Monday.
Hwacha said: “I had a matter before the Judge President at the same time that we were supposed to have attended the hearing. We then postponed the matter to Monday.”
Rushwaya is facing charges of mismanagement, betting, match-fixing and misappropriation of funds. But Rushwaya’s lawyers are now challenging the constitutionality of their client’s continued stay on suspension on the technicality that she has completed more than 30 days on the sidelines.
Rushwaya’s defence team is now arguing that the matter can no longer be tried by the three-member committee assembled by the Zifa board, but by a labour tribunal.
The initial hearing had been set for two weeks ago, but was adjourned to Wednesday after Hwacha told the committee that he needed more time to go through the charges being levelled against his client.
Labour Court judge Justice Custom Kachambwa is chairing the panel, which also includes Public Services Association independent arbitrator Nasho Wilson and Harare lawyer Vimbai Nyemba.
Charges against Rushwaya include allegations that she failed to account for $103 000 she borrowed from the Sport and Recreation Commission on behalf of Zifa. It is alleged that Rushwaya failed to notify her board of the loan and that the Sports Commission are now pressing Zifa for the repayment of the loan.
But documents in our possession show that Rushwaya gave the money to four clubs— Caps United, Dynamos, Lengthens and Gunners who were participating in the continental competitions at that time.
She is also accused of: “Facilitating and/or allowing the Zimbabwe team to travel to Malaysia on a trip that had not been approved by either the Zifa board or the Sports and Recreation Commissioners.”
Rushwaya is also accused of entering into an agreement with match agents — Kentaro A.G — a company based in Switzerland, on behalf of Zifa without authority from the board.
Kentaro were involved in bringing Brazil to Harare for a high-profile international friendly soccer match against the Warriors at the National Sports Stadium in May.
The agents are now suing Zifa in Switzerland demanding $650 000 from the gate-takings realised from that match.
Rushwaya has also been charged with disregarding Zifa board directives including one to submit monthly reports to the board.