SELECTIVE prosecution within the Zimbabwean cricket fraternity was exposed last week after two cricket players and an official were convicted for violating foreign exchange control regulation
s, while their bosses went scot-free.
Cricketers Vusumuzi Sibanda and Waddington Mwayenga and national team manager Mohamed Meman were last week convicted of breaching foreign exchange rules. The three paid fines for their offences.
Sibanda, Mwayenga and Meman were charged with receiving relatively small payments in their offshore accounts compared to the more serious charges levelled by the central bank against their cricket bosses.
Sibanda received US$4 041,35 which was deposited in former national team captain Tatenda Taibu’s UK account held with HSBC Bank.
The account number in which the money was deposited is 616210604976. But the owner of the account and those who deposited the money were not charged.
The same applies to Mwayenga who was paid merely US$182 in Meman’s Natwest Bank account in the UK and Meman who received US$6 750.
However, the biggest shock was when Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Peter Chingoka and managing director Ozias Bvute were set free for what appeared to be more serious offences which involve larger sums of forex and unconstitutional profit-making deals by the cricket board.
The ZC constitution clearly says the cricket board is a non-profit-making organisation, thus prohibiting it from commercial trading.
ZC is supposed to make its income from the sale of television rights, done through UK-based firm Octagon CSI, companies that advertise themselves during international cricket matches, for instance Gameplan Ltd, and funds from the International Cricket Council.
The ZC media and communication manager Lovemore Banda last week said in a press release his organisation was involved in motor vehicle trade.
ZC has been involved in car sales deals worth $23 billion with Croco Motors.
Although Chingoka and Bvute were identified in the central bank probe as having been at the forefront of the alleged breaches of the foreign exchange regulations, they escaped unscathed.
The Attorney-General’s office refused to prosecute despite the fact that it had the central bank’s investigation dossier to support prosecution.
Sources said the Attorney-General’s office balked at prosecution because of friction with the central bank. But Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele denied this last week.
Sources said Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono first sought permission from President Robert Mugabe – the ZC patron – to investigate the cricket saga and secured it.
However, after the investigation, Gono found his mission hitting a brick wall as the state prosecution authorities showed marked reluctance to pursue the case. Gono is understood to have been alarmed by this.
A senior lawyer acting o