Henrietta Rushwaya, the former Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive faces imminent arrest over allegations that she masterminded the Swazigate football scandal in which elements of the national team agreed to throw matches, Now Daily has learnt.
Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane met minister of home affairs Ignatius Chombo and attorney general Prince Machaya Thursday to draft a case against Rushwaya, Zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo and several others alleged to be involved in the racket.
“The police must get involved. A person who does this (throwing matches) is the worst saboteur. There’s no difference between this and an act of treason. The law must take its course,” Hlongwane said.
Rushwaya was implicated as the kingpin in the previous Asiagate scandal, in which Zimbabwe national team matches were thrown in favour of Asian betting syndicates. She had a life ban from football lifted in January 2016. Criminal charges against her were dropped after Fifa, the world football governing body, stated that government should not intervene in the sport.
The government now plans to charge Rushwaya with corruption, a crime for which she could face criminal prosecution in Zimbabwe. Lawyers said Fifa could not override national laws when criminal acts were committed.
“These are our citizens who’re subordinate to our national laws,” said lawyer Tichaona Chivasa, who said the Anti-Corruption Commission Act was adequate to prosecute the alleged culprits. “They are citizens before being footballers. Why shouldn’t our national laws apply?”
Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa told journalists that the Kasinauyo and the ‘Warriors’ national team assistant coach and Hwange coach Nation Dube had been suspended to facilitate a probe into their involvement. Former coach Ian gorowa was also implicated.
It is alleged that Rushwaya teamed up with a shadowy character only identified as ‘Chief’, the brother of notorious match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal and plotted to influence the recent African Nations Championship in Rwanda. They also allegedly planned to fix the upcoming 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers against Swaziland at Easter Weekend.
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