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Zifa properties queried

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ZIFA is hard-pressed to prove that two of its properties, including its headquarters at 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare, which are set to go under the hammer tomorrow, belong to Zifa (Pvt) Ltd, which they claim is a separate entity as information gathered appears to show otherwise.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

Lawyers representing LED Travel and Tours, a company owned by former Zifa board member Bernard Gwarada, say the Zifa properties, which include their two offices in Harare and Bulawayo, will be auctioned tomorrow after receiving a High Court order to attach the property as the company seeks to recover over $300 000 owed to it.

Zifa-house

While the association has distanced itself from the properties, claiming they belonged to Zifa (Pvt) Ltd, which they also say is a separate entity, information obtained yesterday shows the properties could be theirs.

According to the 2011 and 2013 Zifa audited financials done by Baker Tilly Gwatidzo presented at the annual general meeting in 2014, the balance sheet for 2011 shows that the non-current assets of the FA understood to be immovable properties stood at $970 000, while the financials for 2013 was $1,7 million, representing an increase of almost $800 000.

The Zifa Village was completed at around that time and this could be the only possible reason for the increase in value of their immovable properties.

Now the vexing question begging an answer then is: What are these assets?
Second, if these assets belong to Zifa (Pvt) Ltd and not the FA, how could they be shown on the audited Zifa financials?

The other burning question is if the title deeds of the properties are registered under Zifa (Pvt) Ltd, what is the relationship between Zifa and Zifa (Pvt) Ltd?

Is this not one company?

Curiously, former Zifa treasurer Frank Valdermarca is also one of the directors of Zifa (Pvt) Ltd, that also has Abdulla Kassim of Gollop and Blank Legal Practitioners as one of the directors.

Is Zifa not trying to protect its immovable property from being auctioned by masking it under Zifa (Pvt) Ltd?
An informed source said yesterday a company search had also failed to find Zifa (Pvt) Ltd, meaning it doesn’t exist.

Even if the company existed, the logic behind forming a company that has exactly the same name as Zifa and then deny there is a relationship has also been queried.

Kassim, one of the directors of Zifa (Pvt) Ltd, did not answer his phone when sought for a comment yesterday.

He was said to be unwell, while Valdermarca, was said to be out of the country.

Zifa (Pvt) Ltd had said they would challenge any attempt to have the properties auctioned.

However, Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze maintained the properties belonged to Zifa (Pvt) Ltd.

“The properties indeed belong to Zifa (Pvt) Ltd. The title deeds are under Zifa (Pvt) Ltd and this is why former Zifa president Cuthbert Dube had his property auctioned,” Mashingaidze said before referring further questions to Kassim.

LED Travel and Tours, through their lawyers Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel, recently obtained a High Court order to attach the properties after Zifa defaulted in servicing its debts.

The lawyers said yesterday they had not received a court order instructing them to halt the sale of the properties.

“We have not received litigation or any other tribunal to stop the sale. So the sale will be executed unless we receive a court order to stop the sale between now and Friday (tomorrow),” the lawyers said.

Zifa, according to the lawyers, now owes their client around $340 000 in total, including interest and other legal costs.
The cash-strapped Zifa is struggling to offset its long-standing debt and Gwarada is one of the creditors, who had secured a writ to attach the association’s properties in a bid to recover money owed to him.

The debt emanates from an agreement between Zifa and LED for the company to borrow funds from two banks on behalf of the association to fund the Warriors’ 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, with the Zifa Trust underwriting the transaction and the former chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tshinga Dube, providing the security.

LED tried to get Zifa to settle the debt, but without success and now wants Zifa property auctioned to recover the money.

The Zifa board, then led by Dube, was booted out of office by disgruntled councillors, who accused it of maladministration, among other ills.

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