Centralgate- Zifa fights back

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Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze has said suspended Central Region chairman Patrick Hokonya cannot disregard his suspension, after he reinstated himself on Monday.

Hokonya, through his lawyers, said his suspension was unconstitutionally prolonged beyond the 14 days he was scheduled to go for a disciplinary hearing.

Hokonya was suspended together with his Southern Region counterpart Gift Banda during a stormy Zifa board meeting on December 8 last year, after the two were implicated in the match-fixing scandal that has rocked the Central Region.

Hokonyas legal representatives last Friday wrote to world football governing body, Fifa, complaining their client had not been charged with any misconduct and was unlawfully suspended, before announcing Hokonya would be resuming his regional chairmanship duties on Monday.

They also argued Hokonya was supposed to appear before a disciplinary board within 14 days from the day he was suspended, as provided for in the Zifa constitution, but it was now over a month since the suspension.

They contend that as a result of Zifa flouting its own constitution, the suspension has prejudiced the Central Region.

Your constitution does not permit our clients continued suspension without a hearing. Our client has a constituency which is not being properly served due to the unlawful suspension. This cannot be allowed to continue any further.

For the foregoing reasons our clients suspension was void from the start. It does not need a court or tribunal to declare it to be void. Our client will resume his normal duties on January 9 2012, read part of the letter sent to Fifa.

But Mashingaidze yesterday said Hokonya and Banda would be called for a hearing as soon as investigations into their alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal were completed.

The position still remains that those two (Hokonya and Banda) are still suspended. As for Hokonya, he can only be reinstated by the board which suspended him. Investigations are underway right now, hence they have not been tried yet. You cannot have a hearing without complete investigations, said Mashingaidze.

Other board members like Marange (Kenny) or Ndlovu (Methembe) are still suspended so what is so special about Hokonyas suspension? He cannot reinstate himself because the board that suspended him is the same board that will recall him.

Zifa lawyer Ralph Maganga said the committee investigating Banda and Hokonya was already in place, but could not be drawn into revealing its composition and when the two would be tried.

As far as I am aware, the committee is already in place, but I am not at liberty at the moment to disclose its composition. It would be announced when the appropriate time comes and it is only fair to do so when the interested parties are informed first.

Zifa will write to the two honourable board members first and then publicly announce the date, said Maganga.

On why there has been delay in trying Hokonya and Banda and if the delay is constitutional Maganga said he could not comment, but the disciplinary committee would furnish the interested parties with reasons before the hearing.

The committee will make a determination whether Zifa has complied with the constitution or not. All those submissions would be presented by the committee before the hearing. I have no instruction from my client to talk about that at the moment, added Maganga.