ZIFA have suspended former chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya from all football-related activities after she was fingered as a key member of a cartel involved in the latest match-fixing scandal that has rocked Zimbabwe football. In the first signs that the latest fallout will get dirty, Rushwaya immediately hit back at ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze claiming she allegedly paid him to lift the ban imposed on her before the current leadership, headed by Philip Chiyangwa, came into office.
Rushwaya, who was banned for life for her alleged role as the mastermind of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, had that ban lifted last month when ZIFA provided immunity to all the people accused of involvement in that scandal.
ZIFA president Chiyangwa said the decision to lift the sanctions on everyone implicated in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal was meant to provide closure to the case that had dragged on for years with FIFA refusing to endorse the sanctions.
The world football governing body repeatedly refused to endorse the sanctions because they wanted more evidence to back ZIFA’s claims that matches had been fixed and, crucially, felt that those who had been banned had not been given the chance to defend themselves.
FIFA insisted that the committee used by ZIFA, to investigate Asiagate and come up with a raft of sanctions, led by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, did not exist in the Association’s structures and its work, and its sanctions, were null and void.
Last month, ZIFA wrote a letter to Rushwaya advising her that her ban from all football-related activities had been lifted.
But, yesterday, the Association slapped the Harare businesswoman with another ban, pending her appearance before a ZIFA Disciplinary Committee, after she was fingered in the latest match-fixing scandal rocking Zimbabwe football.
“Further to the letter dated 11 February 2016 advising you that your suspension from all Association football activities had been provisionally set aside, pending referral of the case to the appropriate ZIFA Committee, please be advised that the ZIFA Executive Committee has referred your matter for determination by the Disciplinary Committee,” Mashingaidze wrote in a letter to Rushwaya yesterday.
“The Disciplinary Committee shall notify you of the dates of the formal hearing.
“Further be advised that, accordingly, the ZIFA Executive Committee resolved to reinstate your suspension from all Association football activities pending the determination of your case in the Asiagate scandal and the new allegations of your involvement in match fixing and illegal betting in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League and Zimbabwe senior men’s national football team.”
Rushwaya, who has been named by a whistleblower as a central figure in the latest scandal to hit Zimbabwe and South African football, immediately responded with a stunning allegation that she paid Mashingaidze to lift her ban before Chiyangwa’s board provided her with immunity.
In a letter to Mashinaidze, copied to FIFA, the Sports Commission and the ZIFA Assembly, Rushwaya said she allegedly bribed Mashingaidze to get her ban lifted long before Chiyangwa’s board lifted her suspension.
She claims she has been claiming her money back.
“Thank you Mr Mashingaidze, are you suspending me simply because I demanded you pay me back the bribe money I had paid you to lift my ban since you could not do it before the new board,” wrote Rushwaya.
No comment could be obtained from Mashingaidze late last night.