By Desmond Chingarande
A HARARE Court is today expected to rule on a matter where Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) bosses are accused of illegally transferring association funds to a private account.
The quartet of president Felton Kamambo, Philemon Machana, Farai Jere and Byton Briton Malandule want the charges quashed and trial dropped.
The State maintains that they have a case to answer and should go for trial.
Magistrate Stanford Mambanje is expected to make a ruling today on whether the four should face trial.
The bosses deny that they deliberately transferred funds from a Zifa account to a conduit account in order to deny Daisy Lodge, which had obtained a garnishee order, access to the money.
Their lawyer, Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara submitted that the garnishee order relied upon by the State had not been effected when the funds were transferred from Steward Bank to an Ecobank account.
Zhuwarara said the complainant Daisy Lodge had obtained a garnishee order for a particular Zifa bank account at Steward Bank and not the Ecobank account.
“The State confirms that there was no garnishee order in respect of Ecobank which the accused transferred on 26 January 2019. The prosecution’s failure to produce any garnishee order barring the removal or transfer of monies from Ecobank account is quite significant as it demonstrates that there were no pending judicial proceedings in respect of Zifa Ecobank account,” Zhuwarara submitted.
He said there was no sustainable charge of obstruction of justice.
“Without any court order, garnishee order or interdicted barring the transfer of Zifa funds from their Ecobank account there can be no sustainable charge of obstructing or defeating the course of justice,” Zhuwarara further submitted.
“A magistrate cannot sit on a trial when the facts do not disclose an offence, it must be quashed. The transfer of money was not illegal. Accused persons are not clear how or why it is alleged the transfer of money was an intentional act of defeating legal proceedings.”
Zhuwarara submitted a Supreme Court order relating to the same case which nullified the legality of the Sheriff’s conduct in attaching Ecobank account.
The State, represented by Tafara Chirambira, however, insisted that the matter proceed to trial and that it was the only way to establish the conduct of the accused persons.
Zhuwarara, however, told the court that there was no need to go to trial and hear evidence when the was no illegality committed.
Mambanje postponed the matter to today for ruling.
Allegations are that on November 23, 2016, Daisy Guest House obtained a High Court judgment against Zifa under case number HC 6491/16.
According to the judgment, Zifa was ordered to pay
US$161 762 to the lodge and the debt remains unpaid.
It is alleged that on October 15, 2018, Daisy Lodge obtained a garnishee order from the High Court under case number HC 8249/17 against Zifa’s two Steward Bank accounts.
The State alleges that on November 21, 2018, the Sheriff of the High Court went to Steward Bank armed with the garnishee order to effect the judicial attachment.
On arrival, the Sheriff learnt that Zifa’s accounts had no money.
On January 22, 2019, the Sheriff went to Ecobank Borrowdale branch intending to effect the garnishee order on Zifa’s two accounts it held with the bank.
The Sheriff, however, failed to do so because the garnishee order that he intended to use was directed to Steward Bank and not Ecobank.
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