FORMER Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya has revealed how the alleged syndicate that allegedly manipulated the South African Premier Soccer League matches operated.
BY BRIAN NKIWANE
Rushwaya — who was pardoned by Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa early this year following her lifetime ban for her role in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal — does not deny her involvement in the latest scam to rock local football.
But she claims she was working with a Fifa investigator to expose the alleged scheme that has resulted in the suspension of Zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo and Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube.
Rushwaya was banned by Zifa last week for allegedly being part of the syndicate that allegedly worked with former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa.
The former Zifa CEO showed Standardsport more than 100 emails and close to 500 WhatsApp messages that were allegedly exchanged between the players involved, chief match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, and other syndicates. She also has audio recordings of conversations between players and members of the syndicate.
“This has been kept a secret for certain reasons. What people don’t know is that when I was interviewed by Fifa during the Asiagate scandal, I made a commitment that if the match-fixers then tried to come back to me, I would raise a red flag and notify them to help them investigate,” Rushwaya claimed.
“This is all that has been happening. I have a 36-paged report which will be made public soon.”
The document allegedly documents conversations she had with the alleged match-fixers from the first day they made contact with her.
“It was on December 15 2015 that I got an SMS from a number which I could not recognise,” she said.
“I then notified [former Fifa investigator] Terry Steans who has a private investigating organisation.
“He is the one who asked me to talk to these guys and see what they were up to and also reminded me to keep a record of all that would be happening.”
Rushwaya claimed the match-fixers asked her to help them infiltrate the South African league where they were going to use Zimbabwean players to fix matches as a dry run for a scheme targeting the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“To be honest, I never talked to all these players that people are talking about,” she said.
“The people that I involved in this mission are Ian Gorowa, Washington Arubi, and Leeroy Waguta, who actually acted as Patson Jaure and got his money as well.
“As for George Chigova, I used Gorowa. The funny thing is that in all these incidents, I would tell the boys to tell the match-fixers what they wanted to hear, get the money, promise good results, but when in the field of play, do the opposite.
“I can give you evidence of all the matches that they tried to fix. In the first match Arubi did not play and in the other match he was in top form.
“As for Chigova, he actually produced the man of the match performance and that was the match that made Perumal and his people threaten to kill me.”
The matches that the fixers had targeted were supposed to have a two goals cushion for the selected team.
Perumal sent Rushwaya an SMS which instructed that the Bidvest versus Pretoria University match was supposed to finish 4-2, 3-1, or 2-0. “The boys got the money, but I told them to do the opposite, as shown by my SMSes with them here.
“The match ended 2-1. The other tie the match-fixers had targeted was the Polokwane City versus Keizer Chiefs one,” she said.
“Again the match-fixers sent the required scoreline, two goals cushion. What I did, I told Ian to tell Chigova to be at his best.
“He produced the man of the match performance and the match ended 1-1 and the match-fixers were mad at me.”
The players were promised close to $30 000 for a good result, but Rushwaya said she had demanded that the match-fixers give players at least $1 000 as commitment fee.
At one point Rushwaya and Perumal had a heated conversation where the convicted match-fixer accused the former Zifa CEO of making him lose close to $300 000. Perumal’s last message to Rushwaya read: “Don’t call me again.”
Meanwhile, Steans confirmed that Rushwaya had informed him about her “investigation”, but he said she was not working for Fifa.
“Henrietta Rushwaya sought my advice when she was approached by persons unknown wanting to talk to her about fixing,” he said in an emailed response to questions from Standardsport.
“She made the decision to play along with the fixer who she suspected was Wilson Raj Perumal to see what information she could gather.
“I did not work undercover or have any involvement in any of the meetings she attended.
“I was not party to any discussions she was involved in, although she did keep me apprised of her progress,” he added.
“I have no knowledge of Fifa involvement. As far as I am aware, HR [Rushwaya] acted independently.
“I advised HR to keep detailed records of every contact she had and to write a detailed report of her investigation.
“To my knowledge, she has done this and will present her findings to authorities. I cannot comment further until she has made her findings public.”
Rushwaya insisted that she was not part of the plan to fix the Warriors’ matches.
“Honestly, I have not spoken to Edzai Kasinauyo for more than five years now,” she said.
“I don’t even know who Nation Dube is, I don’t even know who Tatenda Mukuruva is, let alone speaking to these people.
“I introduced Gorowa to match-fixers, yes, as part of my findings. If he then decided to do it on his own, that is his case to answer now.
“I, even, have never met Jaure; it was Leeroy who acted as Jaure’s imposter.”