IT never rains but pours for axed Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Nyararai Sibanda, who is now being accused of misappropriating the union’s funds, according to the new findings by the ZRU board tabled during its special general meeting (SGM) held at Prince Edward School yesterday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The ZRU board, which yesterday endorsed the Russel Karimazondo-led interim executive appointed by the Sports and Recreation Commission in September, tabled its own findings which delivered a hammer blow on Sibanda.
Sibanda led the previous ZRU executive which consisted of two vice-presidents, Noddy Kanyangarara (North), Tapiwa Mangezi (South) and treasurer Joseph Lambert, which is reportedly challenging its dissolution at the courts.
According to the ZRU board’s findings, Sibanda was fingered as the main culprit in the alleged gross financial mismanagement at the local rugby governing body during his tenure.
“[The] ZRU president awarded himself travel and subsistence allowance and spent an average of $250 per trip to Harare. No supporting documentation or receipts were given. The treasurer flew to South Africa on ZRU account,” read part of the findings tabled at yesterday’s SGM.
“ZRU CEO [Blessing Chiutare] and president flew to South Africa for Craven Week tournaments, not budgeted for; trip was forced even though there were no resources.
“The president travelled abroad on questionable trips [and] reports and receipts were not made available. The president made a reimbursement claim for air ticket[s], accommodation, visa fees and subsistence allowance to attend the World Rugby Conference, yet World Rugby provides accommodation, food and flights to attendees.”
It was also learnt that the ZRU bank file with supporting documentation is yet to be returned to the office by the former treasurer [Lambert], “despite him being told on numerous occasions to return it, therefore, no proper tracking of supporting documents can be done at the moment”.
On the governance issues, the ZRU board alleged that there was no financial policy in place.
“Cash withdrawals [were] done almost every two days for the period January 2017 to July 2017, in some cases daily, of which the purpose was not clear. Also monthly office petty cash usage was at an average $250 or less, of which it was not clear what the cash withdrawal amounts were for, as this expenditure was not ratified by the board,” read part of the findings seen by Standardsport.
The ZRU board further alleges that the previous executive had failed to settle debts to service providers for last year’s Women’s Africa Cups Sevens despite the continental body Rugby Africa having availed funding specifically for the tournament.
Sibanda and his executive were initially suspended by the SRC for a number of reasons, chief among them alleged in-fighting among the executive committee members and poor results by the national teams.
The ZRU executive was also accused of failing to adhere to provisions of the SRC Act (Chapter 25:15) of 1991 and revised in 1996 and regulations (1995) by willfully not seeking the clearance of the Zimbabwe women’s rugby team which toured Francistown, Botswana on May 27 this year.
The fired executive also stands accused of failing to accommodate visiting Zambian men and women teams in June, an incident that tarnished the image of the country.