FORMER ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested yesterday in the latest chapter of the Limpopogate match-fixing scandal which erupted a few months ago, with ZIFA claiming they had busted a cartel that allegedly intended to fix, among other matches, the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers between Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
Rushwaya’s name has featured prominently in the saga since a whistleblower provided ZIFA with information that the cartel, which the association claims also involves former Warriors’ assistant coach Nation Dube, axed ZIFA board member Edzai Kasinauyo and former Warriors’ coach Ian Gorowa were manipulating matches in South Africa.
Rushwaya concedes that she interacted with Asian match-fixers from last year up to the time the scandal exploded but says she was working undercover to try and nail them after she promised investigators working for FIFA that she would bring the culprits to book.
Documents show that Rushwaya contacted Terry Stearns, a British national who used to work on the FIFA crack team battling match fixing when she was first approached by serial match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean nation who is one of the leading figures in that underworld and has served jail on a number of occasions on match-fixing offences.
However, ZIFA and their whistleblower, believed to be Leeroy Waguta, a man with close ties to a number of prominent Zimbabwean footballers based outside the country, maintain that Rushwaya was, in fact, part of a match-fixing web that was trying to fix matches in the South African Premiership.
ZIFA officials also claim that Rushwaya and her cartel were in the process of infiltrating the Warriors camp using Dube as their point man, to try and influence the outcome of the 2017 AFCON games between Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
Waguta claims in the dossier that he provided to ZIFA that a meeting was arranged in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Rushwaya allegedly mooted the idea of fixing the games between the Warriors and Swaziland, with Gorowa and Kasinauyo playing leading roles in the operation.
ZIFA reported the case to police on the advice of Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane, who reiterated that Government did not tolerate attempts to compromise the integrity of Zimbabwe football and shame the national game.
ZIFA have also been working closely with their South African counterparts who launched their investigations into the case with a number of players and officials in that country charged.
Last night, The Herald was advised that Rushwaya had been arrested as part of police investigations into the scandal.
“Henrietta was picked up today (yesterday) and she is in police custody, as we speak, helping police with their investigations,” sources at ZIFA told The Herald.
“We are told that the police also want to interview Edzai Kasinauyo and Nation Dube as part of their investigations into the case. Obviously, this is a massive development and we will now wait and let the law take its course.”
National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said he was not aware of the developments as he was away in Bulawayo.
“I am in Bulawayo right now. Contact Senior Assistant Commissioner (Charity) Charamba on her official mobile,” said Nyathi.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charamba said she was attending a funeral.
“Sorry, I am attending a funeral but I don’t have that information.”
A number of Zimbabwean footballers plying their trade in South Africa, have been dragged into the scandal but all of them have been featuring for their clubs, with goalkeeper George Chigova in goals for his team Polokwane City in their Nedbank Cup quarter-final tie against lower division side Baroka FC on Sunday.