Rushwaya fraud case takes new twist

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Rushwaya appeared before Harare magistrate Lazarus Murendo for a routine remand hearing last week but the case took a new twist when the magistrate recused himself.

Murendo stunned the courtroom when he announced that he would no longer be interested in continuing to preside over the case.

The magistrate said he had resigned from the case because of personal reasons.

Sources at the Rotten Row Courts said Murendo had been cowed into resigning from the case by Rushwaya threatening to use her access to Zimbabwe’s vice president Joseph Msika in dealing with the magistrate.

Msika is the patron of the Zimbabwe Football Association and also worked with Rushwaya on the Warriors’ Fund Raising committee which catapulted the lady into main stream football administration two-years ago.

“Rushwaya was actually boasting that she will not be tried by a poorly paid magistrate and we suspect that she might have tried to pay out some bribes to the investigation officer,” one prosecutor told the Zimbabwe GazetteM.

“We could see that the case was falling away by the way she got her passport back and had her reporting conditions relaxed in December.”

The case against Rushwaya had appeared strong on her arrest in November and weakened in December when key witnesses Tafirenyika Chitsungo and Wellington Nyatanga denied any knowledge that Zifa had been defrauded.

Chitsungo is the acting Zifa finance and administration manager while Nyatanga is the Zifa board chairman.

The case against Rushwaya is that Zifa nominated three officials to attend the Confederation of African Football FIFA Future Level Three administration course in Tanzania in August 2007.

Zifa took US$2 100 from its foreign currency account at the CBZ Second Street Branch intending to pay Jonathan Musavengana, a programs officer with ZIFA, Kennedy Ndebele, the Premier Soccer League secretary and Zimbabwe Women’s Football League chief executive Teresa Maguraushe US$700 each for the week they were spending in Tanzania as allowances.

But Rushwaya is alleged to have paid the three US$350 each instead of US$700 and it is the State’s case that she pocketed the remaining US$1 050.

In September 2007, the State further alleges Rushwaya was assigned to attend the 8th Women’s Football Symposium and the Women’s World Cup finals in China.

ZIFA withdrew US$2 400 from its account and only $1050 was used. Rushwaya is alleged to have converted the remainder to her personal use.

Rushwaya is also staring into allegations that she converted to her own use money that was meant for player bonuses over their participation at a four-team Agri-Bank invitational tournament in Vietnam in November when she paid each player US$250 instead of the expected $1 500. This matter is being dealt within the Zifa corridors.

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