Fraud charges rock ZRU

By Enock Muchinjo

THE Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has been rocked by controversy following allegations of misappropriation of funds involving senior administrators.



a, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>An audit of the ZRU financial and administrative issues has been done and a report will be released today.


ZRU first vice-president Losson Mutongwiza and national team manager Noddy Kanyangarara have traded accusations of abuse of funds. Administrator Janice Johnny was sent on forced leave last month to allow a probe into the handling of funds at the union.


These controversies have surfaced just before the ZRU annual general meeting (AGM) next week, where elections for president and two vice-presidents will be held. There is danger of the ZRU, which has been facing serious financial problems in the past, failing to get an annual grant from the International Rugby Board (IRB) next year due to the squabbles.


The ZRU this year received £72 000 from the IRB and has used the money to run the sport this year. There is wide speculation that the probe could expose that the bulk of the money was not properly accounted for.


Documents obtained this week reveal that Mutongwiza is accusing Kanyangarara of failing to account for US$3 600 in his capacity as national team manager.


Mutongwiza alleges that Kanyangarara did not show receipts for the US$2 000 given to him for incidental costs when Sables went to Madagascar for their first Africa Cup match of the season in August, which they lost 16-25. Kanyangarara claimed he was not given any receipts.


Mutongwiza also quizzed Kanyangarara for a return air ticket he bought for Sables captain Costa Dinha for his trip back from his Germany base in time for the Africa Cup semi-final match against Namibia in Windhoek. Dinha had left the country soon after Zimbabwe’s home tie against Uganda in the group stage of the tournament. Kanyangarara claimed he had bought the ticket for US $3 600, up from the US$1 260 used for the initial trip from Harare.


“You did not get approval from anyone to spend so much since you are the law. We just got a surprise of our lives to see that claim,” Mutongwiza stated in one of the documents addressed to Kanyangarara. “A ticket to the US is US$ 1 800 return, to the UK is US$1 200. How then do you explain US$3 600 to Germany?”


In his response, Kanyangarara said Dinha’s ticket was “equally puzzling”.

He said: “I went to buy his ticket with him when he went back after the Uganda match and it was US$1 260 so the same would have been for coming back. Only to be told it was US$3 600.”


Kanyangarara is also being accused of failing to account for US$60 total fine imposed on four players for joining the team late during the trip to Namibia. Kanyangarara said he used the money to reimburse South African-based fullback Cleopas Makotose who had paid for his travel to the Uganda and Namibia matches.


Mutongwiza also alleges that Kanyangarara gave players allowances and made them sign without stating the amounts they were getting.


Kanyangarara however told this paper that allegations against him were a ploy by Mutongwiza to find a scapegoat and cover up for his “glaring” shortcomings.


“His conscience is killing him. He has done a lot of damage to rugby and he wants people to go down with him. So many people have done things that are detrimental to rugby but have not been probed because they belong to his camp,” he said.


Kanyangarara accuses Mutongwizo of abusing an undisclosed amount of foreign currents used for the national sevens team’s whirlwind tours last year and early this year, “that has never been accounted for even with persistent pressure from all quarters to have reports for the trip”.


ZRU president Bryn Williams told IndependentSport that he was aware of the dispute going on and that he will try to resolve the differences before the AGM.


“I do not wish to be sucked into people’s personal vendettas but this just has to end for the good of rugby. If these people cannot find a solution to their conflict it’s better that they fall by the wayside and admit that rugby at the end is bigger than all of us,” said Williams.”

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