Nyoni defamation case postponed again

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The trial of Zifa’s star witness Cosmas Nyoni in the match-fixing allegations in the Central Region was yesterday postponed to January 31 as the courts were not fully functional with one court being used out of the eight at Bulawayo Magistrates’ Courts.

Nyoni has been put on his defence and is supposed to call his defence witnesses to testify on his behalf.

Last time the matter was postponed to yesterday because the prosecutor Robin Mukura was absent.

The suspended Southern region representative in the referees committee is facing charges of criminally defaming suspended Southern Region chairman Gift Banda.

He allegedly said statements to the media which led to the suspension of Banda and Central Region chairman Patrick Hokonya from the Zifa Board on allegations of match-ixing.

The pair, Banda and Hokonya is challenging their suspension arguing it violated the constitution of the national association.

Nyoni pleaded not guilty before Bulawayo magistrate Sophie Matimba and averred the statement he made to the media was true and was not defamatory. He is out of custody on his own cognisance.

Banda and Samukeliso Silengane, the suspended acting Zifa referees’ committee chairperson led evidence.

Mukura told the court that between November 30 and December 3, Nyoni supplied information to the Press to the effect he was summoned by Banda to his office after failing to deliver results from Central Region soccer league due to match-fixing, which was not true.

He said Banda never met Nyoni over the games which were played on October 10. It is alleged the story was published in the public media on December 3 under the headline Banda lied — Cosmas Nyoni.

Last week Zifa’s suspension of Central Region chairman Hokonya hit a brickwall when its star witness Nyoni told the court he never spoke to him about match-fixing.

Nyoni had implicated both Banda and Hokonya in the match-fixing scam, but has been changing statements since he came to court.

Nyoni said he never spoke to Hokonya about match-fixing during cross-examination by the prosecutor Mukura on his second day on the witness stand in his defence case.

He allegedly said statements in the media which led to the suspension of Banda and Hokonya from the Zifa board on allegations of match-fixing were true only to make a U-turn.