Felton Kamambo’s fired Zifa executive has claimed that the audit report on the association’s finances compiled by BDO Chartered Accountants exonerates them from any wrongdoing.
Kamambo and his co-accused Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule were removed from their positions by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in November last year over allegations of misappropriation of public and Fifa funds.
Their suspension, as well as that of chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse, led Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) to ban Zimbabwe from international football over government interference.
The SRC put in place a Zifa Restructuring Committee to remodel the game, defying a directive by Fifa to reinstate the Zifa executive and ordered a forensic audit to establish the alleged misappropriation of funds by the Kamambo-led executive.
A draft audit report by BDO alleging there were unaccounted transactions by the Zifa executive has since been released.
But the lawyers representing the suspended board members, who are not allowed to speak on footballers matters as one of their bail conditions, said despite the draft report being defective legally and procedurally, it exonerated the under-fire crew.
They also argue that since the draft forensic audit report acknowledges there were no government funds stolen and that Zifa is an independent private entity, this exonerates them from the alleged misappropriation of public funds.
“It is important to note that despite it (draft audit report) being defective, legally, factually and procedurally, the draft forensic report appropriately acknowledges that Zifa is a private organisation of an associate nature. Such an acknowledgement may be the one correct thing which the draft audit reports, which implies that SRC or its illegal appointees, the restructuring committee, could not have legally carried out any such audit since no audit has been sanctioned by the legitimate football structure and or authority,” said the lawyers representing the suspended members,” Rubaya and Chatambudza.
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“The report also reluctantly admits that the total government and public funds received by Zifa for the three-year period was only $80 000 and that all was accounted for by Zifa. This effectively means that all other funds, including those received from Fifa and CAF amounts to private funds whose mandate is outside the SRC influence.
“This is not to suggest Fifa money was abused, but emphasis that SRC has no business on Fifa funds and such was long communicated to SRC by Fifa in 2019. In short, the forensic audit report in its draft form has unwillingly vindicated the suspended board members submissions and Parliament Committee on Sport findings that no public or government funds were ever abused or misappropriated.”
The lawyers also argue that a forensic audit report does not, therefore, base its report on assumptions or potential losses as what is contained in the draft audit.
“The other findings per the draft report are what is being referred to as “potential losses” and not actual losses. It is a well-known fact that a forensic audit is the mother and end of all audits and for the report to be speaking of potential losses means they are still assuming things after five full calendar months of purported intensive investigations,” the lawyers said.
“To any serious and objective person, such is therefore an unwilling admission by auditors that nothing was amiss and that no money or resources were abused. It is very clear that the audit report is the last desperate straw in the SRC bag of tricks to desperately defend their illegal suspension of the board for non-existent violations by the board and soon very soon the truth shall come out.”
They also rubbished suggestions that Fifa could have prejudiced or assisted Zifa to pay non-existent dues.
“The draft report makes scary allegations that there are no records as to why Fifa paid some of its funds to some Zifa creditors. Further there are insinuations that Fifa took money that was meant for Zifa legacy debts with no just cause,” they said.
“These statements are clearly crafted to create a dangerous narrative that Fifa was helping the prejudice of Zifa where Fifa could have been a beneficiary or bodies like Council of Southern Africa Football Associations. For such a statement to find itself in a serious forensic audit report that a donor can steal from themselves only the authors of the report and their partners can explain.
“We would want to notify the generality of sport loving persons and authorities that our clients eagerly await receipt of the final “audit report,” from which they shall respond after having satisfied all legal impediments currently curtailing them to comment. Such shall be done through utilising the appropriate legal remedies against the said auditors, BDO Zimbabwe and/or SRC, Zifa restructuring committee as well as the current illegal Zifa board.”
They dismissed the forensic audit report as a legal nullity.
“The current illegal audit by BDO is therefore irregular, illegitimate and should therefore never be relied upon. Despite having been carried out by a proper professional audit firm, the report appears to have been a precalculated ‘adverse report strategy’ designed to carry out the same while the Zifa board is on suspension and facing bail conditions which precluded it from commenting on anything on football including the financial transactions.
“Natural justice which demands a right to be heard could not therefore be achieved in this case. It is baffling how a board that was banned from accessing Zifa offices and banned from talking to anyone on football related matters was suddenly expected to avail the alleged missing documents which are ordinarily kept at Zifa office and make comments to audit queries on football transactions in violation of their bail conditions. This is a question only the auditors and SRC those who illegally took up Zifa offices without a formal handover must explain how these disappeared.”
The football administrators argued that the report is full of falsehoods and misrepresentations.
According to the draft report, Zifa board members made cash withdrawals that were not recorded in the association’s books.
It also queried the awarding of tenders, particularly to Rollertag Investments, who are said to have supplied substandard football equipment while some of the equipment that had been paid for was yet to be supplied.
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