HomeLocal NewsRushwaya pleads not guilty

Rushwaya pleads not guilty

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Former Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya yesterday pleaded not guilty to nine counts of corruptly concealing a transaction from her principal, the Zifa Board, arguing the matter was clearly a labour dispute and not criminal.

In his submissions, Jonathan Samkange, representin Rushwaya, argued that the charges, as outlined by the State, did not disclose any offence and above all there was no complainant mentioned in the State papers except the name Zifa.

“The State says the complainant is Zifa, but everybody knows Zifa does not have a mouth neither does it have brains, for example to say I have been injured and I am in pain,” Samkange said sending the gallery into stiches.

“The State intimated it would call about 20 witnesses, but none among them in their statements is saying ‘I am the principal’, as such who is representing Zifa? Criminal prosecution is not a game or guerrilla warfare because the State is saying they are not obliged to disclose at this stage since the time is not ripe, but let me make it clear; if the State is keeping something under the armpit, it must let it go now.”

Samkange, who cited a number of case laws, said in order for the charges against Rushwaya to become an offence, the transactions must have been concealed corruptly.

“The mere concealing of a transaction from a principal alone (and not to say that accused is admitting she did that) is not a criminal offence in terms of our law, but at most it could be an act of misconduct in terms of the labour laws, hence the Legislature deliberately inserted the word ‘corruptly’ to the definition of the offence in question,” he said.

But prosecutors Sidwell Chinzete and Oliver Marwa opposed the application, arguing the charges were clearly spelt out as per the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The State insisted Rushwaya failed to disclose to her principal the full nature of the transaction pertaining to the alleged unsanctioned games played by the Warriors in Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Malaysia, Bulgaria, China and Thailand, thereby intending to deceive Zifa.

Meanwhile, the trial of the Zifa board, which is accused of employing Belgian soccer coach Tom Saintfeit without a work permit, failed to kick off at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday. No reasons for the failure were provided by the State.

Zifa lawyer Ralph Maganga told NewsDay that he had simply been advised the matter would proceed by way of summons, but the prosecution office declined to comment.

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