A ROW has erupted between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) board and members of provincial structures over a payment of £50 000 to ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka by the union.
The ZCU is also accused of spending more than $300 million last year in travel and accommodation expenses for all 12 board members when they accompanied the Zimbabwe national cricket team on a tour of Australia. It is claimed that the board members took their wives along with them.
The issue of payment to Chingoka and the trip to Australia had been concealed by the ZCU leadership, with former general manager Vince Hogg having remarked earlier this year that the matter was confidential. He reportedly asked how it got to be known.
Tongues have been wagging in the cricket fraternity over Chingoka’s payment as well as the cost of the board members’ trip to Australia.
The Zimbabwe Independent has been investigating the issue since last week. Chingoka was interviewed on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, a story appeared in the Herald yesterday that appeared designed to pre-empt these investigations, claiming there was a “conspiracy” to sully Chingoka’s name.
Chingoka admitted at the recent ZCU annual general meeting that he received the money after former cricket administrator Ray Gripper raised a question from the floor. Chingoka refused to explain the circumstances under which he was given the money.
In an interview on Wednesday, he admitted to having received the money from the ZCU. He also confirmed all 12 board members travelled to Australia last year.
“The matter was discussed by the board of directors on January 18 2003. It was minuted following a meeting,” said Chingoka. “I was not in the meeting but I was advised that there was a unanimous decision to give me the money. They said it was for service to cricket for 21 years,” Chingoka said.
Hogg, who resigned at the AGM two weeks ago, said the matter was meant to be confidential.
Chingoka said the spending on the board’s trip to Australia was justified.
“It’s normal practice for various board members from all over the world to visit and interact. For example, when Sri Lanka came here there were three board members and Australia had one. Yes, all our board members went across. But there were no expenses incurred on members’ wives. Probably board members paid for their wives’ expenses. The expenses, which I can’t give a figure for, are part of the board expenses in the report. We can’t state every item.”
The financial report for the just-ended ZCU calendar year indicates that board expenses were over $500 million.