Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THE whistleblower who has laid bare the latest match-fixing scandal to hit Zimbabwe football is armed with damning evidence, including a copy of a $400 000 transaction transferred into a South African bank account, WhatsApp Messenger text messages exchanged by the cartel and graphic details of how they allegedly plotted to try and fix Zimbabwe’s 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers against Swazi- land.
The Saturday Herald is the first newspaper to exclusively obtain the sensitive documents, which includes the email and WhatsApp Messenger trail, bank transactions in South Africa which was used as the financial hub of this illicit trade, which has become the basis for Zimbabwe and South African football authorities to launch an investigation into probably the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit the two coun- tries.
Former ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, former Zimbabwe Warriors’ coach Ian Gorowa, suspended ZIFA board member, Edzai Kasinauyo, allegedly working in conjunction with an unidentified Asian match-fixer identified only as “Chief”, who ZIFA officials claim is the brother of serial match-fixing wizard Wilson Raj Perumal, feature prominently in the cartel.
Kasinauyo features prominently in the exchange of the emails while the WhatsApp Messenger text messages involve all members of the cartel with all the business conducted in South Africa.
Zimbabwe international goalkeeper George Chigova, who plays for Polokwane City in the South African Premiership, is heavily implicated in the match-fixing ring while there were unsuccessful attempts to try and recruit another ‘keeper, Washington Arubi, and his University of Pretoria teammate Partson Jaure in an elaborate ring that manipulated matches in the South African Premiership.
Arubi was approached during a University of Pretoria training session by the match-fixer-turned-whistleblower, who – according to the documents – told him that he had been sent by Rushwaya to join them in the ring to manipulate the results of his team’s matches but the goalkeeper flatly refused to entertain the messenger and, at one time, even held him hostage while his coach, Tendai Tanyanyiwa, tried to call the police.
An exchange of WhatsApp Messenger texts between the middleman, whose decision to dump his match-fixing game and turn into a whistleblower, enabled ZIFA officials to bust the gang, on the day in question, as he pleaded to Rushwaya to convince Arubi and Tanyanyiwa to release and forgive him, appear to support his claims.
Chigova, according to the documents, received $15 000 while his defensive teammate Lebogang Motumi was paid $10 000 by the cartel, with the money being delivered to the two by the match-fix-er-turned-whistleblower, to ensure that Polokwane City lost an ABSA Premiership match against Bidvest Wits with Rushwaya and Kasinauyo allegedly playing a part in that transaction according to the emails seen by this newspaper.
Bloemfontein Celtic ‘keeper Patrick Tignyemb and defensive midfielder Lansthene Phalane are also implicated in the shadowy business.
The whistleblower also makes sensational claims, which appear to be supported by the trail of emails and WhatsApp text messages, when he had to carry huge sums of money in cash across South Africa to pay players who would have fixed matches while the cartel shared huge proceeds running into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He chronicles when it all started.
“She (Ruhwaya) persisted in her requests for a meeting and I eventually met her in Johannesburg at Maslow Hotel in Sandton,” he claims in documents provided to ZIFA and Government officials, the police, South African Football Association head of security Mlungisi Ncame, who was in Harare yesterday to pick the evidence, and is set to be given to the crack South African crime-busting unit, the Hawks.
“When I arrived at that meeting Rushwaya was in the company of three men who appeared of Asian extraction whose names I cannot recall but whom I can physically identify.
“One of them, whom I later met afterwards, is only known as ‘Chief’. I understand that ‘Chief’ is closely related to Raj Perumal. During the course of that meeting Rushwaya explained to me that she wanted to start a sports betting business focusing mainly on the South African ABSA Premier League and the Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League.
“She further explained that she had called me in particular to employ me because of my close association with Zimbabwean footballers based in and outside South Africa. She offered me US$2 000 and I made an undertaking to accept her offer of employment.
“On the next day, we met again with Rushwaya at an apartment in Sandton and she advised me that I was to be employed in the capacity of runner to distribute cash payments to footballers with a view to compromising their performance during football games for the benefit of the betting cartels.
“I accepted my appointment and we immediately started implementing Rushwaya and her Asian partners’ designs. The first footballer I approached on the 2nd of February 2016 was Washington Arubi who currently plays for University of Pretoria in South Africa with a view to persuade him to compromise his performance in the forthcoming match against Free State Stars.
”Upon broaching the subject with him he vehemently refused and even threatened to assault me. He then immediately reported me to Tendai Tanyanyiwa, who is the University of Pretoria goalkeeper’s coach who in turn threatened to call the police. I only escaped by feeling from the scene.
“I’m in possession of WhatsApp Messenger text messages which I exchanged with Rushwaya following the rejection of our offer by Arubi. I attach, hereto, a copy of those text messages as Annexure ‘A1-A-6’.
“At all material times I was liaising with and co-ordinating my role with Edzai Kasinauyo who, after my escape from University of Pretoria, contacted me on the 4th of February 2016 through mobile number +27725702427 by sending a text message at 11:19 hours demanding the return of the money I had been given to give to Washington Arubi.
“Further I communicated with Edzai Kasinauyo on the 17th of February 2016 on his mobile number +27725702427 after he had directed me to a meeting which was to be attended by Ian Gorowa. I questioned the involvement of Ian Gorowa and he assured me that Ian was very knowledgeable of match-fixing and had a relationship with many players since 1996.”
He claims he delivered $15 000 to Chigova and $10 000 to Motumi to facilitate that Polokwane lost to Bidvest Wits and there was a further delivery to the duo to ensure that their team lost to Free State Stars.
Chippa United defender Mbuyiselo Sambo was also contacted, according to the whistleblower, and accepted an offer to throw a game when they played Free State Stars.
“On or about the 8th of February 2016, Rushwaya initiated a discussion about compromising footballers of Zimbabwe’s senior men national football team in the upcoming AFCON fixture between Zimbabwe and Swaziland played in Mbabane,” he claims in the documents while attaching screenshots of the text messages involved.
“It was agreed that I was going to receive at least R100 000 per fixture and I would deliver the money to the Zimbabwean football players who would have accepted the offer in Mbabane. It was agreed that the first player to be approached would be Tatenda Mukuruva.
“On the 29th of February 2016 at an apartment in Sandton, Johannesburg, we convened another meeting which was attended by Rushwaya, Ian Gorowa, ‘Chief’, Edzai Kasinauyo and myself. Gorowa indicated that we target Mukuruva the goalkeeper.
“Rushwaya was known as ‘Mothaz’, Gorowa was known as ‘Ian’, Kasinauyo was known as ‘Kasma’, and I was known as Ben. It was agreed that each member of the core group, which included Rushwaya, Gorowa, Kasinauyo and Nation Dube would receive US$40 000 each for the first leg in Mbabane while the three players would receive US$15 000 each.
“For the second leg in Harare, each core member of the group would receive US$40 000 each whilst the three players would get US$15 000 each. It was further agreed that an advance team would be dispatched to Mbabane before the team’s arrival to lie in wait.
“Gorowa would be responsible for the distribution of the money to the players who would have agreed to the deal. The money would be delivered by Nation Dube who had previously been tasked to approach certain players at the CHAN tournament.
“Those players were supposed to ensure that Zimbabwe would lose by a two-goal margin. In the event that Zimbabwe scored, the compromised players had to ensure that Zimbabwe lost by a three goal to one margin. In the event that there was no goal conceded in open play, the targeted defenders had an obligation to concede a penalty and later receive a red card.”
The cartel, according to the whistleblower, then waited for the announcement of the Warriors’ squad to see who could be targeted and Kasinauyo was to allegedly exert pressure on Pasuwa to release his squad early so that they get to work on the players.
He attached emails and messages between the cartel as they grew desperate when the squad’s announcement was delayed.