ZIMBABWE – Former Zifa president Wellington Nyatanga will today represent the football association in the case in which its former chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya is accused of corruptly concealing transactions from a principal.
Magistrate Ms Esthere Chivasa had ordered the State to amend the charges and include the name of the person representing Zifa in the matter before the trial commenced.
The matter, however, failed to open yesterday after Rushwaya’s lawyer Mr Dumisani Mthombeni sought a month’s postponement after arguing that he had a matter at the High Court (involving Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Ms Locardia Karimatsenga).
Mr Jonathan Samukange who is also appearing for Rushwaya was attending to a “high profile case in Namibia”.
“The charge sheet involves nine counts the defence was denied opportunity to prepare for the trial in light of new affidavit recorded from Wellington Nyatanga,” he argued.
He also argued that the matter should wait for their High Court application for review of the decision by the magistrate to quash their application for exception of charges.
However, prosecutor Mr Oliver Marwa, opposed the application arguing that Rushwaya’s defence team was given a month to prepare for the trial adding that their appeal at the High Court was unlikely to succeed. He said the trial date was set by consent and the application was shameful because it lacked merit.
In her ruling Ms Chivasa said the application at the High Court did not stop the proceedings of the lower court adding that the defence should have produced evidence showing commitment at the High Court. She said Mr Samukange was aware of the trial date and should have made prior arrangements adding that the court was not a rubber stamping authority.
The magistrate said the lawyers had disrespected not only the court but witnesses some of whom had travelled from Bulawayo adding that they preferred other matters to Rushwaya’s case.
She postponed the matter to today and advised Rushwaya that her trial would proceed with or without a lawyer representing her. The charges against the former Zifa boss emanate from soccer matches the senior national soccer team, the Warriors, played in Asia.
She is alleged to have arranged trips for the national soccer team to Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Oman, Jordan, Bulgaria, China, Thailand and Yemen between 2007 and 2010 without permission from her superiors. She is pleading not guilty to all nine counts of corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal.