Friday, 6 February 2015

Humiliation for Cuthbert Dube

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
EMBATTLED ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube suffered another humiliation yesterday when his personal property worth about US$281 000 was attached over a debt in which he offered himself as guarantor in a matter where the association owes Pandhari Lodge hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The country’s under-fire football controlling body enjoyed the hospitality and services at Pandhari Lodge in Harare between February 2 and September 30, 2013, but did not settle the debt.

Dube then undertook to settle the debt, hence his citation in court proceedings as a defendant.
THINGS FALL APART . . . The Sheriff of Zimbabwe’s seven-tonne truck blocks entrance at the main gate of ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube’s Groombridge mansion following a raid yesterday during which they attached a fleet of vehicles after he failed to pay a debt
The Sheriff of Zimbabwe, Mcdoff Madhega, yesterday morning stormed Dube’s double-storey Groombridge mansion with a fleet of trucks to ferry movable property, but removal was temporarily halted after the ZIFA president’s lawyers sought extension of repayment period by 10 days.

There was drama at Number 7 Crighton Road, in Groombridge, as the security guards at Dube’s mansion house locked up the gate to bar the Sheriff from entering from entering the premises.

Madhega’s team then parked a seven-tonne truck in front of the gate to make sure no vehicles or any other property would be moved out of the premises.

The Sheriff called a locksmith to assist his team to forcibly break into the yard but a woman, believed to be Dube’s wife, arrived with the news of the lawyers’ request.

Madhega and his two officers entered the premises to meet Dube who had locked himself inside to prevent the removal of the property. They spent more than an hour inside the premises before coming out to call off the mission.

The property attached include five vehicles:

Toyota Land Cruiser (AAD 1368)

Land Rover Discovery (AAQ 3270)

Mercedes Benz S600 (ACO 0649)

Mercedes Benz ML (AAC 1979)

Mini Cooper (ACM 2807)

The sheriff also attached household property including:

5 x refrigerators

5 x plasma television sets

6x sets of leather sofas

1x black massaging chair

kitchen tables and chairs

dish washers

microwaves and many others

The property was attached on the strength of a court order issued by Justice Lavender Makoni on January 21 this year.

The order reads:

“It is ordered that the application for summary judgment be and is hereby granted. The respondents (ZIFA and Dr Dube) shall pay to the applicant (Pandhari Lodge), jointly or severally the one paying the other, to be absolved the sum of US$268 435,57 together with interest at the prescribed rate of 5 percent per annum from the date of summons (October 24, 2013) to the date of full and final payment . . .”

The Herald had sight of a copy of the letter from Scanlen and Holderness that sought the postponement of the removal of property.

The lawyers stated that Dube had negotiated with Pandhari Lodge for an extension of the period in which money should be raised to clear the debt.

“The debtor has negotiated for a longer period of payment with the creditor.

“Accordingly, we have instructions to request that you (sheriff) postpone removal of the goods attached for a period of 10 days to enable the debtor to settle, failing which you may proceed with removal,” reads part of the letter.

ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, also appeared at Dube’s house yesterday in a Nissan Bluebird Sylphy, but refused to talk to the media.

Dube, through his security team, also refused to entertain the journalists preferring to talk on the phone but he was unreachable.

The ZIFA president has come under increasing pressure, in recent weeks, to quit with a number of stakeholders concerned that the game has not gained in value since he took over as the leader of domestic football.

This week, former Premier Soccer League chairman, Tapiwa Matangaidze, who is now the MP (Zanu-PF) for Shurugwi South constituency, issued a chilling warning that there was a danger ZIFA could be liquidated. He was also very critical of the way Dube has been running domestic football for the past five years.

“The media has been at pains chronicling ZIFA and Cuthbert Dube’s recorded failure in running our football,” Matangaidze wrote in a piece published in The Herald.

“The football people which Dube is quoted as choosing to call ‘people of the streets’, have in unison called for his graceful resignation.

“What is not in dispute, and can never be, is that — under his stewardship — Zimbabwean football has sunk to an all-time low.

“Do I hear somebody saying ‘Thank you but no thank you to Mr Dube?’

“The so-called ‘people from the street’ hope that one day sanity will prevail and ZIFA will turn a new leaf.

“ZIFA, with a debt overhang of $6 million, is insolvent. Recently we have read of attempts to spin the figure to US$4 million. Regardless, the Association is insolvent.

“ZIFA’s continued financial transactions with other organisations, and companies in this country, clearly exposes those firms and entities.

“HOWEVER, SHOULD ONE, TWO OR SEVERAL OF ZIFA’s CREDITORS CALL FOR ITS LIQUIDATION, AND THE APPOINTMENT OF A JUDICIAL MANAGER IN THE INTERIM, SURELY, THIS CAN NEVER BE MISCONSTRUED TO BE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.

“ZIFA’s creditors have a right at law to be protected by the country’s judiciary system.

“The creditors gave a service to ZIFA in good faith and in a normal business transaction. The creditors have a right to be paid. Our laws, just like laws in other countries, are very clear on creditor/debtor relationships.

“As things stand, ZIFA simply has no capacity to pay off its debts.”

Matangaidze said time was running out for ZIFA.

“If ZIFA has well-wishers, locally and internationally, Mr Dube included, who can settle the debts, then by all means, let it be done quickly, failing which I humbly submit the following for the football community’s debate:

(a) That at least one of ZIFA’s creditors petition the courts for its compulsory liquidation and the appointment of a Judicial Manager

(b) The Judicial Manager, so appointed, should engage FIFA in pursuing options to fund and reconstruct ZIFA

(c) That ZIFA Board members and Councillors be appraised of the implications of specification with regards to the people at the helm of liquidated organisations.”

Interestingly, ZIFA have more than $700 000, which could not accounted by their auditors, a sensitive subject that remains a huge talking point, despite Mashingaidze’s spirited attempts for the case to die a natural death.

THE ZIFA Assembly took their board to task over the audit report which unearthed financial irregularities of about $1 million.

The audit showed that in the financial year ending December 2013, total liabilities exceeded assets by $4 792 748.

It was, however, the $744 635 which the auditors noted was unaccounted for in the 2011 report which sparked a lot of concern among the councillors.

Expenditure, without supporting documentation, was unearthed.

“Included in the consolidated financial statements are direct match expenses amounting to $1 291 636 and we were not able to obtain appropriate and sufficient supporting documentation or confirmations from third parties,” reads the statement from the auditors.

“We were not able to obtain appropriate audit evidence in relation to the association’s recorded accounts payables amounting to $744 635 of the $781 588 recorded in the consolidated financial statements, over which there was no system of internal control on which we could rely for the purpose of audit.” Herald
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