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PSL scam explodes

by Staff reporter
08 Feb 2019 at 08:35hrs | Views
MORE damning and incriminating evidence emerged yesterday, exposing a cartel that has been corruptly siphoning funds from Premiership side ZPC Kariba, amid chilling revelations the cancer has spread to a number of clubs in the domestic top-flight league.

What started as an in-house clean-up exercise at ZPC Kariba to rid the club of some rotten apples who have been swindling the team and their sponsors of thousands of dollars through a sophisticated corrupt network has now snowballed into a cancer that has been devouring the soul of the domestic Premiership.

ZESA Holdings, the principal sponsors of ZPC Kariba, flighted adverts in the mainstream newspapers in the country yesterday confirming our explosive article that investigations, related to a rot which has seen them being milked by a corrupt gang of coaches, middlemen and players, had started.

The company could have lost tens of thousands of dollars in the fraudulent scheme in which the coaches connived with members of their club's leadership, some middlemen and players, to inflate the figures related to the transfer of players who were being lured into their ranks with the participants sharing proceeds from the loot.

As reported by this newspaper yesterday, ZPC Kariba coach Godfrey Tamirepi is in the eye of a raging storm, while middleman Conrad Nyambabvu features prominently in the shady deals where the loot was moved through various Ecocash accounts. A former girlfriend of one of the principal figures also claimed yesterday that money was wired through her Ecocash account.

However, as ZESA Holdings revealed yesterday they had engaged experts to track the paper trail of the money which they lost in the scheme, with the view to bring the culprits to book, it also emerged yesterday that: This scheme is not only limited to ZPC Kariba but has, in fact, become an established way in which a number of officials, coaches and players in the domestic Premiership have been conniving to defraud the clubs and, by extension, the sponsors through such inflated transactions.

The middlemen, or their partners, fingered in the ZPC Kariba shady transactions have also been working with a number of officials, coaches and players from other clubs and using the same method to defraud the teams, and those who provide the financial backing, of thousands of dollars.

The fraudsters have been targeting those clubs that are well resourced, especially from a sponsorship point of view, and have found a way to befriend coaches, managers and some officials to ensure they execute their shady deals to defraud those who inject the funds.

Some players have become captured in the network to such an extent that it has now become common knowledge that, once they move from one club to another, chances are that something fraudulent would have happened for the deal to be concluded.

Some agents have also been part of this scheme and would prepare the paperwork, to suggest that their player was being signed for such a figure, usually an inflated one, when the reality is that he would have moved for far less than that with the difference being shared by the participants in the deal.

This has seen a number of players, who would ordinarily have been good enough to make the grade at some clubs, being told they were not good enough because those who make the final decisions, related to their recruitment, would prefer other players, possibly not as good, because they will generate some money from the dubious transactions.

The scheme could have been borrowed from South Africa where, sources say, most of the transactions involving the signing of players, including the local ones, have an unwritten clause that the transfer fee which the buying club will pay will include an inflated amount which would be shared among those in the deal.

Five years ago, Brazilian superstar Neymar's move from Santos to Barcelona caused a lot of controversy when it was revealed his family's company had received €40m (about US$45.33m) in a transfer deal worth a reported to be about €86.2m (about US$97.83m). Santos' share was just €17.1m (about US$19.40m) and a Spanish court ruled that Barca had committed tax fraud in the signing of the forward leading to the then president of the Catalan giants Sandro Rossell to step down with the club being forced to reveal they had paid €86.2m, including payments to the player and his family, and not €57.1m as they originally indicated. In the ZPC Kariba saga, sources revealed ZESA Holdings had hired a team of experts to assist them with the probe after a day-long of intense meetings.

"The issue is being treated so seriously and we spent the whole day in a meeting pondering about how we can handle the corruption allegations that have surfaced again in our company,'' sources said.

''We decided, as the board, to take over all the investigations from the ZPC Kariba club executive and the company has hired private investigators so that the results will not be affected by the interested parties and the private investigators are already on the ground.

"If the allegations are proven to be true, we will not take any chances and allow few individuals to tarnish the name of our company but the law and the company codes of conduct will be used to bring to book those found guilty.

"If the investigations prove that these is allegations are true, definitely, precedence will be set against corrupt activities and no one is going to be spared no matter how big you are.

"We can assure you that the investigating team is not going to use common and anticipated procedures but we believe that the systems and the way we agreed to use will yield positive and factual results.

"Right now we are treating everyone who was involved in the management of the club as suspects until the investigation proves otherwise.''

Premier Soccer League chief executive Kenny Ndebele was not at liberty to discuss the matter, "at least not for now''. But the top-flight body's chiefs will, no doubt be closely following the unfolding scandal at ZPC Kariba and its potential effect on other Premiership sides.

Source - the herald