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Fraud-accused ZIFA executives take fight to Constitutional Court after State refuses to stop trial |


By Mary Taruvinga


FIVE former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) executives facing fraud allegations are seeking to have their matter referred to the Constitutional Court arguing their rights were being abused.

This follows the refusal by the State to withdraw the charges after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) who was the complainant indicated that they are withdrawing from the matter.

The five are Felton Kamambo, Brighton Malandule, Philemon Machana, Stanley Chapeta and Joseph Mamutse.

Prosecutors allege that during their suspension, the five wrote letters on a Zifa letterhead purporting to be executive committee members.

They are being represented by their lawyer Admire Rubaya and are currently on trial before Harare magistrate Taurai Manuwere.

The five argue that the conduct of the State amounts to harassment and abuse of the court process.

“The accused persons are facing allegations arising from a criminal complaint lodged by SRC. SRC chairman Gerald Mlotshwa wrote to the then Acting Prosecutor General of the Republic to the effect that it was no longer the complainant in the matter.

“It therefore means that the State was aware that the complainant had withdrawn itself from the case. Effectively, the complainant was withdrawing the criminal complaint against the accused.”

“The confusion afflicting the State is common but simple. It is a complainant who comes up with a complaint. It is the state that comes up with a charge.

“The charge is, however, founded upon the complaint. Without the complaint a charge is invalid,” said Rubaya.

“Whilst the state has the prerogative to charge and cannot be directed by anyone in doing so, it does not have the right to proceed when it has lost both the complaint and its sole witness”.

They argue that Zimbabwe returned to international football based on the withdrawal cited by the SRC.

They also submit that the conduct of the State works against the agreement between the SRC and the world football governing body FIFA.

“The withdrawal letter was used as one of the basis to uplift the ban on ZIFA which for all intents and purposes was a welcome development.

“In the face of that withdrawal, itself a clear indication by the complainant that the complainant`s officials did not wish to testify, and taking into account the fact that no trial could proceed without their evidence all the circumstances considered, it is surprising to learn that the State is still bent on proceeding with the trial,” he submitted.

Rubaya intends to file a written application on January 8.

“The process the State wants to undertake is an abuse of the court process. The decision of the prosecution is moral defilement and unlawful deprivation of accused personal liberty. It is their belief that the process is unconstitutional,” he said.





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