Zifa’s perjury storm

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor—
A CIVIL suit, in which zifa were dragged to the High Court by local advertising firm, CM&A, over non-payment of an advertorial, produced and flighted in local newspapers for the association in 2010, could have exposed the its president, Cuthbert Dube, to perjury. The advertorial, which screamed “zifa Stands Resolute And United”, came just weeks after the association was savaged by the local media for the confusion in the Warriors camp in the countdown to the 2012 Nations Cup qualifier against Cape Verde.

zifa didn’t pay for the design and placement of the advertorial which was flighted in all the mainstream newspapers after striking a deal with the advertising agency, CM&A, that the association would pay in due course.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association Board wishes to advise all Zimbabweans on the state of Zimbabwe’s football and wish to respond to media reports that have dominated the nation’s print and electronic media to-date,” the association said in the advertorial.

“First and foremost, we hereby confirm that the zifa Board is united in its decision to accept the Selection Committee’s recommendation that we appoint Mr Tom Saintfiet as Men’s Senior National Soccer Team Coach.

“The Board decided that Mr Norman Mapeza who was then Caretaker Coach should be offered the position of Assistant Coach, and be offered the opportunity to receive the necessary training to prepare him for the eventual position of National Coach.

“Mr Madinda Ndhlovu was also offered the position of Assistant National Team Coach.
“Unfortunately, the media, that had already proffered its own expert opinion on who the best candidate would be, took the matter into its own hands and whipped up the public emotion in an effort to force the Board’s decision. The Board stood firm, and this whipped up the media frenzy.

“After a tortuous month in which some sections of the family of football saw it fit to portray the zifa Board as incompetent, deceitful, ethnically biased, and downright corrupt, the Board has seen it fit to put the record straight. The truth of the matter is that we are a Board committed to turn around the fortunes of the game of football.

“We are united.
“The Board is committed to improving the quality of our football through a very professional approach to managing the nationwide and inclusive participation of all well-meaning Zimbabweans.

“We trust that the greater population of the football-loving public will see through this veiled and sinister attempt to destroy the ‘Beautiful Game’ for selfish interests.’”

Cuthbert Dube
The problem, though, is that zifa did not pay for this job and, in an email on January 27, 2011, former zifa board member (marketing), Nigel Munyati, reminded his boss Dube about the outstanding payment to CM&A.

“I write to express my extreme concern regarding the non-payment of Press Advertisement expenses we incurred over three months ago,” wrote Munyati.

“We engaged an advertising agency, CM&A, to design and place the adverts, and they paid the various newspapers on the understanding that zifa would pay when invoiced.


“While CM&A did all this in good faith, we have failed to fulfil our part of the deal. zifa has given them the run-around until they got fed up and threatened to hand us over to their lawyers. I remember you made a personal commitment to paying the costs for the ‘Press Release’ Advert, and so I executed my task with the confidence that payment would be forthcoming.

“I hope and trust that you can help us find a solution and bring closure to this rather embarrassing situation.”
But nothing moved and the advertising agency was forced to go to petition the High Court for a resolution on the dispute.
Dube, in his affidavit as the president of zifa on March 21 2011, swore under oath that his association, or any of its branches, did not engage CM&A for the production and flighting of the advertorial in the newspapers.

Crucially, Dube said he was unaware of any deal struck between zifa and CM&A, in as far as this advertorial was concerned.

“I, Cuthbert Elkanah Dube do hereby make oath and state that:

1. I am the President of the Respondent Association and by virtue of that position I am authorised by the Constitution to depose to this affidavit, and the facts that I depose to herein, are within my knowledge true and correct.

2. I have read the Applicant’s affidavit and respond herein to it as follows:
5. I am advised by my lawyers of record that the appearance to defend was properly filed since I have a bona fide defence to the claim that I do not take the advice because, to the best of my knowledge, the Respondent does not owe the Applicant any such money.
Respodent denied ever engaging the Applicant for the said press designs as alleged or at all. I never authorised any such expenditure and I have liaised with the Respondent’s secretariat which also confirmed (through the Acting CEO) that Applicant was never engaged for that said purpose in the Applicant’s summons. If, at all, somebody engaged Respondent then such a person had no authority either from either the Secretariat nor myself.

I am so sure that during the period in question, the Respondent never contracted Applicant nor anyone for that matter with respect press designs. Consequently, Respondent does not owe Applicant the sum of US$9 408,05 as alleged or at all.

Whereupon I pray that the claim be dismissed with costs, for Respondent does not owe the Applicant the sum claimed or at all.”
But a paper trail of e-mails appears to show otherwise as on August 30, 2010, at 4.38pm, Munyati sent the draft design of the advertorial to F. Chisvo, a PSMAS employee, at chisvof@psmas.co.zw advising here to “Please pass on to Mr Dube for his approval.”

Twenty minutes later, Chisvo wrote back to Munyati and said “Received and printed for the President Attention.”
On October 15, 2010, Joyce Munyoro, who was Dube’s Personal Assistant at PSMAS, whose email address was the hosting platform for emails sent from and to the Zifa president, including those that went to Fifa, sent an email to Munyati.

In that e-mail, Munyoro attached the advertorial, with the message “As requested, please find attached for onward transmission (to the advertising agency). Kindly acknowledge receipt.”
Munyati duly replied, on the same day.

“Thank you for the e-mail. I was trying to forward it to the Ad(vertising) Agency from my phone but the file is too big. Please forward it to the following emails: tendayi@cma.co.zw and alex@barkersogilvy.co.zw.
Later, the same day, Alex Chishiri of the advertising agency, wrote to Munyati confirming “received now, thanks.”

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