The Asiagate scandal in which senior Zifa officials are alleged to have been involved in football match-fixing yesterday spilled into Parliament with Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure questioning why former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya had been given back her passport and allowed to travel to South Africa and Dubai before finalisation of her court case.
Madzimure said the decision by the courts to grant Rushwaya permission to travel outside might compromise police investigations since some of the soccer players and syndicates linked to the scandal were based in those two countries.
The MDC-T MP, who is the chairman of the African Parliamentarians Against Corruption (Zimbabwe chapter), last year called for the arrest of Rushwaya.
During the question-and-answer session, he challenged Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Obert Gutu to explain why the court had relaxed Rushwaya’s bail conditions and returned her passport.
“What is your ministry policy regarding the relaxation of bail conditions for suspected criminals?” asked Madzimure.
“Two weeks ago, a former senior executive officer’s passport was taken by the courts before the relaxation of her bail conditions, but she was recently given back her passport so that she can travel to South Africa where some implicated players reside and in Dubai where the match-fixing syndicates took place. What is government policy on that?”
Gutu said the issue was under the purview of the Attorney-General’s Office, but he promised he would take up the matter to find out what exactly happened.
“The Ministry of Justice is only relevant when it comes to policy direction and does not take part in the nitty-gritty of prosecution,” said Gutu.
“It is important that people who are facing serious charges of this nature should be dealt with in such a manner that justice delivery is maintained and there is no suspicion that the course of justice has been averted.”
Gutu continued: “In terms of the Constitution, my ministry has no mandate to give orders on prosecution and as to how people’s bail relaxation should be done. I will take up the matter with the Attorney-General’s Office so that whatever is happening does not pervert the justice system.”
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