LAWYERS representing Edzai Kasinauyo have demanded that ZIFA furnish them with the evidence they used to implicate him, in the match-fixing scandal rocking Zimbabwe football, by 11am today or face an urgent High Court showdown where he will challenge his suspension from domestic football’s leadership.
The lawyers claim Kasinauyo has never fixed any football games and for ZIFA to suspend him from the Board without a hearing, and affording him a chance to defend himself, was a violation of not only the association’s constitution but also the Zimbabwe Constitution and FIFA Statutes.
Mhishi Legal Partners, the lawyers representing Kasinauyo, said their client had been tried, convicted and left to hang without, crucially, being afforded the chance to defend himself or to have access to the material that ZIFA were using to punish him.
The lawyers said the Monday indaba, where a decision to suspend their client was taken, was not a duly constituted ZIFA board meeting, as provided for by the Association’s Constitution, and the resolutions from that meeting were null and void.
“(i) The Executive Committee must necessarily convene a meeting for it to be able to act in terms of Article 34 (n). Such a meeting is convened in terms of Article 33 of the said constitution,” the lawyers said in their letter to ZIFA.
“This entails the calling of such by the president or, by at least, 50 percent of the Executive Committee members. An agenda of the meeting is prepared with the participation of the Executive Committee members before the meeting is convened.
“Upon the finalisation of the agenda, it must be sent out to the Executive Committee members at least four days before the meeting.
“(ii) It is common cause that no Executive Committee was held. Our client, who is an Executive Committee member, was certainly not served with a notice of the convening of such a meeting nor the Agenda. To that end, the alleged suspension which is further alleged to have been done in terms of Article 34 (n) of Mr E Kasinauyo is a non-event and void abinitio.
“The act of suspending our client appears spurious. There is an allegation by ZIFA of it being in possession of ‘evidence implicating’ our client in match-fixing activities relating to the match against Swaziland.
“Regrettably, not even a single piece of evidence has been furnished to give some credence of sorts to the base allegations. One of the pillars of the principle of natural justice is that one must be informed of the nature of allegations that they are facing and be given an opportunity to defend themselves.
“The suspension letter shows a disdainful and blatant disregard of such basic and elementary tenets of the principle of natural justice upon which civilised societies are built. The ‘Executive Committee’, which allegedly suspended him invariably became privy to the information forming the basis of the allegation. One assumes that such was discussed before a decision to suspend him was made.
“Surely, he should have been given an opportunity to answer the allegations before the decision to suspend him was made. The actions of ZIFA amount to a clear disregard of Section 70 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe and, indeed, the principle of natural justice, audi alteram partem.
“It is inconceivable how a national organisation, which banks on good corporate governance as its selling point to attract business partners, could be so blatant in its breach of the law.”
The lawyers said in their letter that the allegations against Kasinauyo, fingered by ZIFA as a member of the cartel of match-fixers that also include former Warriors’ coach Ian Gorowa and former ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, were false.
“The allegations in the suspension letter are false. Our client has never been involved in any match-fixing shenanigans,” the lawyers said in their letter.
“Despite not having any tangible evidence, the ZIFA president (Philip Chiyangwa) and his deputy (Omega Sibanda), caused to be held a Press conference on the 9th of March 2016 wherein they published the match-fixing falsehoods to the world.
“The article was also carried in the daily print media of the 9th and 10th of March 2016. To cap all this up, the suspension letter carrying the falsehoods was copied to FIFA, CAF and the director-general of the Sports and Recreation Committee.
“The publication of these falsehoods have soiled his good name and standing in society and, indeed, against his peers in the footballing world. In this regard, our client’s rights are reserved.
“Our instructions are to demand, as we hereby do, by 1100 hours of 11th March 2016, you avail directly to our offices, ALL pieces of evidence of our client’s alleged involvement in the so-called match-fixing, failing which we shall proceed to court to:
i) Compel you to release such information
ii) Sue for defamation.”
The letter was copied to FIFA officials, Luca Nicola and Ashford Mamelodi, CAF secretary-general Hicham El Amran, Sports Commission director-general Charles Nhemachena, ZIFA president Chiyangwa, his deputy Sibanda, the ZIFA Assembly members and ZIFA legal guru Itayi Ndudzo.
Meanwhile, the South African Premier Soccer League said they would not comment whether matches in their league were manipulated.
Our correspondent in Swaziland, Noel Munzabwa, who is in Mbabane, Swaziland, reported yesterday that the National Football Association of Swaziland were saying their hands were clean.
“There is nothing official we have received on this matter but we have learned from online publications in Zimbabwe of what is said to be happening,” Swazi Football chief executive Frederick Mngomezulu said.
“I can, however, assure the nation and other stakeholders that we are clean.
“As NFAS, we play by the rules and are preparing for this game normally. We have no intention of engaging in such practices.
“Such things cannot be taken lightly and we will be on the alert at all costs.
The good thing about this also is there is no mention of Swaziland officials but only people from Zimbabwe.”