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ZIFA audit unearths massive fraud by ousted Kamambo executive | Zimbabwe News Now –

HARARE – Some top Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) officials face arrest after an audit report which unearthed murky transactions made between December 2018 to November 2021 was handed to authorities for purposes of prosecution.

One supplier, it has emerged, prejudiced ZIFA of US$1 million in financial transactions that had remained hidden until they were uncovered by auditors.

ZIFA paid Rollertag Investments US$1,073,912,05 from a FIFA grant for the  purchase of football equipment from 2019 to 2021.

The business owned by ZIFA Councillor Marshall Jonga subsequently supplied substandard football equipment valued at US$791,000.

The equipment has been rotting at the ZIFA warehouse in Mt. Hampden for more than a year, after beneficiaries complained that it was of poor quality.

Auditors also unearthed another case in which US$100,000 worth of goods were paid for but were never delivered.

The audit report also detailed how the Felton Kamambo led ZIFA board awarded itself hefty allowances totalling US$100,000 at a time referees and coaches were yet to receive their FIFA Covid-19 relief pay-outs.

Kamambo pocketed US$20,000, suspended acting vice president Philemon Machana took home US$18,000 while CAPS United owner Farai Jere who is a ZIFA Executive Committee member pocketed US$15,500.

Bryton Malandule, a ZIFA executive committee member took US$15,500, executive committee member Barbara Chikosi pocketed US$15,500 and fellow executive committee member Sugar Chagonda benefited U$15,500.

Auditors said they held a meeting with Chikosi on 15 September 2022 who explained that the US$15,500 amounted to board allowances due to her.

Reached for comment, a board member who declined to be named for fear of reprisal said the money extended to them were repayments for loans they provided as bail outs when Zimbabwe football was on its knees.

“This is not charity, Chief. We used our own funds to go to Cosafa,” they said.

Elsewhere, a ZIFA councillor, who features prominently in the forensic audit is alleged to have also skimmed external payments.

Jonga, owner of Rollertag Investments that prejudiced the football mother body of US$791,000 worth of substandard equipment, was said to have acted in common purpose with Onai Makamure to cheat ZIFA of US$2,304.26.

The pair reportedly acted as third parties in a 2019 transaction in which ZIFA was making part payment for an Air Zimbabwe flight to Cairo for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Auditors questioned why ZIFA was paying through third parties instead of directly to Air Zimbabwe.

Jonga’s company also provided loans to ZIFA in an unholy alliance condemned by auditors.

Auditors noted that in one instance, Rollertag, on behalf of ZIFA, on June 20, 2019, paid US$21,282.14 to Rennies Travel for air tickets for the senior men team’s travel to Cairo.

The auditors noted that “the lender was a major supplier of football equipment to ZIFA and this gave rise to a conflict of interest as outlined in the FIFA Forward Development Programme Regulations 8.”

The loan was repaid on September 14, 2019 through a transfer of Z$281,400 to Rollertag Investments.

The power behind the throne Conduit Investments, owned by suspended ZIFA vice president Philemon Machana, may have wielded undue influence over the association’s operations, enabled by the tens of thousands of dollars in frequent loans he made to the association.

Moreover, the company would provide ZIFA president Felton Kamambo with per diems during his travels, causing concern that Machana had become the power behind the throne.

“In 2019, 2020, and 2021, Conduit Investments was giving ZIFA some loans,” auditors said.

“According to the company search file from the Registrar of Companies, we confirmed that Mr. Phillemon Machana is a Director and a Shareholder of Conduit Investments. Mr. Givemore Chidhakwa who is a ZIFA councillor, is a co-director with Mr. Machana in Conduit Investments.

“At the time of these transactions, Mr. Phillemon Machana was a ZIFA Board member responsible for finance issues.

“As a result, we decided to confirm if Mr. Machana’s interest was properly declared to ZIFA as this was a situation which gave rise to a conflict of interest in contravention of the FIFA Forward Development Programme Regulations 8(u),” the auditors continued.

“On July 22, 2022, the ZIFA human resources manager, Mr. Alfonce Gwarinda, through an email confirmed that there was no declaration of interest which was made by Mr. Phillemon Machana.”

The audit report presents a catch-22 for ZIFA officials who were beneficiaries of some of the alleged corruption as they are still serving as part of the post Kamambo interim ZIFA board.

While Kamambo, Machana and Malandule were recalled by a ZIFA EGM held earlier this year, CAPS United owner Farai Jere, Barbara Chikosi and Sugar Chagonda remain part of the current ZIFA interim executive.

ZIFA interim president Gift Banda said board members “will officially discuss the audit at their next board meeting and the accused will be given an opportunity to respond.”

While the ZIFA board is the highest decision making body in between Congress, it is unlikely that those named for wrongdoing will pass any harsh judgement unto themselves.

Banda was serving suspension during the period under audit but he insists had he been part of the Kamambo board at the time, he would have fought to protect the integrity of the association.

“It’s on record that I am an advocate of following the constitution,” he said.

Turning to Zimbabwe football’s isolation from international football, SRC chairman Gerald Mlotshwa said various reforms still need to be implemented before re-engagement with FIFA.

“We are not in a rush to go to Fifa to ask them to lift the suspension…they are waiting to be guided by us and when we say we are ready, that is when we will engage.

“But we are not there yet. The lifting of the suspension is not a priority…when you are implementing reforms, it’s not an overnight process,” Mlotshwa said.

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Biden: Willing to Talk to Putin About Ending War in Ukraine – VOA Zimbabwe


U.S. President Joe Biden raised the possibility Thursday of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate an end to Moscow’s war against Ukraine but said he had yet to see any willingness on Putin’s part to halt his 10-month invasion.

“I’m prepared to talk to Putin but only in consultation with NATO allies,” Biden said at a White House news conference after holding several hours of private talks with French President Emmanuel Macron about Ukraine and other issues. “I have no immediate plans to contact Mr. Putin. I’m not going to do it on my own.”

“There’s one way for this war to end, Putin to pull out of Ukraine,” Biden said. “It’s sick what he’s doing. If he’s looking for a way to end the war, he hasn’t done that.”

Macron said he was confident the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine with more military and humanitarian assistance.

“It’s about our values,” the French leader said. “Having the U.S. support Ukraine … is very important.”

Biden said the U.S. “will never ask Ukraine to compromise” to end the war without the consent of the Kyiv government.

Earlier, before their private discussions, Biden said as he welcomed Macron for the first state visit of a foreign leader during his presidency, “France and the United States are facing down Vladimir Putin’s ambition.”

“The alliance between our two nations remains essential for our defense,” Biden said. “The U.S. could not ask for a better partner than France.” He described France as “our oldest ally and unwavering partner in freedom’s cause.”

Macron, speaking on a sunny but chilly morning in Washington, said, “As war returns to European soil with Russian aggression against Ukraine, and in light of the multiple crises facing our nations and societies, we need to become brothers-in-arms once more.”

He said Washington and Paris “share the same faith in freedom and democratic values.”

While agreeing on their determination to support Ukraine, Macron expressed sharp concerns to Biden about the U.S. leader’s Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, approved by Congress earlier this year that provides billions of dollars to support the U.S. clean energy industry, and a separate measure that bolsters U.S. semiconductor manufacturers.

Macron told congressional leaders Wednesday that the measure was “super aggressive” toward European companies.

“The consequence of the IRA is that you will perhaps fix your issue, but you will increase my problem,” he said, noting that France makes “exactly the same products as you.”

At the news conference, Biden said the legislation was “never intended to exclude” European trading partners. “We’re back in business,” he said of U.S. economic advances. “Europe is back in business.”

Macron said, “France wants the same new manufacturing jobs.”

Biden acknowledged that some aspects of the legislation might need to be tweaked, as he put it, and said he was confident that U.S. and European negotiators could work out differences so both the U.S. and European economies can prosper.

The pomp and circumstance of a White House state visit for a foreign leader was on full display, with Biden and first lady Jill Biden greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, and then watching as a band in colonial uniforms played the national anthems of both countries. A 21-gun salute for Macron’s visit rang out.

The two leaders and their wives waved from the White House balcony before Biden and Macron went inside for substantive talks. A state dinner was planned for the evening.

The Bidens took the Macrons to Fiola Mare, an upscale Italian seafood restaurant overlooking the Potomac River, on Wednesday evening.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Bid for more MICE events: ZTA – Zimbabwe Independent

ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority Chief Executive, Ms Winnie Muchanyuka has urged players in the tourism and hospitality players to collaborate with government in bidding for Meetings Incentives Conferences Exhibitions Tourism (MICE) events.

Muchanyuka was speaking at the 2022 edition of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Congress which kicked off in Victoria Falls yesterday. 

“I would like to encourage the hospitality industry to continue working closely with the ZTA and other government arms to jointly formulate strategies to bid for more MICE business. We must find strategic ways to collaborate in our quest to promote Zimbabwe as a first choice MICE destination,” said Muchanyuka. 

“There is a lot of potential for us to create more MICE businesses locally. We just need to have a more collaborative approach as a sector. If you look at our statistics for this year, you will find out that MICE contributed quite significantly to the general recovery of the sector.

Muchanyuka said hoteliers have indicated that most of the MICE business was generated from the domestic market which was mostly constituted of government agencies, the corporate sector and nongovernmental organisations.

“MICE business continues to be the dominating force in generating room occupancies for hotels,” she said. 

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Zim traverses globe to reclaim tourism markets – NewsDay

THE battle to reclaim tourism markets have accelerated since governments eased Covid-19 pandemic restrictions this year. In an interview with our business reporter Freeman Makopa (FM) this week, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Mangaliso Ndlovu (MN) tells us the strides the country has made. Below are excerpts of the interview:

FM: What is the outlook for the tourism industry?

MN: Since the beginning of the year, global tourism has continued to exhibit signs of consistent recuperation from the adverse consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Current trends for Zimbabwe have shown recovery, which has been supported by the bouncing back of worldwide inbound travel and growth in domestic tourism.

FM: How has the industry performed this year?

MN: The first nine months of 2022 saw a 165% rise in tourist arrivals. Arrivals increased to 693 498 during the period, from 261 415 during the same period in 2021. This is more than double the number of international arrivals received during the first nine months of 2021.

FM: This means hotel room occupancies have also improved

MN: Yes, on average, occupancies for the first nine months of 2022 grew by 21 percentage points. Occupancies rose from 21% in 2021 to 42% in 2022. Overall, this performance has been reinforced by domestic tourism, which is dominant, contributing 95% of tourism business in 2022.

FM: How has Zimbabwe managed to drum up domestic tourism during this difficult period, economically?

MN: Like any other country, Zimbabwe is traversing through the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the on-going war in Ukraine. These have affected global economies, travel and trade. Given this economic situation, the tourism sector is implementing the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy (TRGS), which is driving the growth of tourism. This is mainly through campaigns to accelerate meetings, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) and domestic tourism. The ZimBho, MeetInZim and InvestInZim campaigns have stimulated domestic and business tourism.

FM: Please share the investment levels into the sector attributable to these campaigns

MN: These campaigns have contributed to tourism growth doubling for January to September 2022 as alluded to earlier. There have been investments totalling US$306,7 million during the period, from US$90,4 million. This was mostly invested into accommodation facilities and vehicle hire.

FM: How do you plan to sustain this growth trajectory?

MN: The tourism sector is guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1, 2021 to 2025 and the TRGS. NDS1 agitates for the growth of the tourism sector through increased investment into diversified products, while TRGS seeks to grow the tourism economy to US$5 billion by 2025. The ministry has the following programmes in place, in its endeavour to achieve the NDS1 goals: product development and diversification, instituting ease of doing business reforms, climate proofing of the tourism sector and establishing a tourism satellite account.

FM: Tell us about the role of the private sector in these initiatives

MN: Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is government-led and private sector driven. The ministry and the private sector already have synergies to promote the country through bilateral agreements signed with other countries in the region and abroad. The ministry is currently implementing memoranda of understanding on cooperation in the field of tourism with South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These provide the public and private sectors the opportunity to jointly market and promote destinations, exchange of programmes for professional in the sector and joint collaboration of private sector associations. Government also supports private sector participation at international travel fairs through subsidising participation fees of operators. The ministry through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), jointly with the private sector, participates annually at fairs such as World Travel Market in London, International Travel Bourse in Berlin, Germany and Indaba Travel Fair in Durban, South Africa. 

FM: What else is the government doing?

MN: Over and above the synergies, the ministry is establishing market presence in the country’s key tourism source markets. Two tourism attachés were deployed in August and September 2022 to China and the United Arab Emirates. An additional nine tourism attachés were recently appointed and are expected to be deployed in the first quarter of 2023 to Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India, South Africa, China and Japan. Physical presence in key source markets and the joint synergies with the private sector will aid government in promoting the destination internationally, attracting more tourists to the country.

FM: Tell us about financial support to the industry.

MN: The government of Zimbabwe has put in place several incentives to help the tourism sector. These include duty rebates on capital equipment for use in tourism development zones.  We also have SI 10 of 2022, which spells out rebate on duty for safari vehicles and tour buses and SI 279 of 2019, which spells out rebates in respect of new capital equipment for expansion, modernisation and renovation of hotels and restaurants within hotels.

The funding also supports boat equipment imports, among others. There are also tax breaks in tourism development zones and tax exemptions for investments into the Victoria Falls tourism special economic zone. 

FM: What are the developments on the electricity front, with regards to tourism?

MN: Electricity and water are already subsidised by the government. As a result, Zimbabwe has one of the cheapest utilities in the Sadc region in this respect. The government of Zimbabwe in 2018 launched the National Tourism Masterplan, which is an overarching guide to the development of tourism in Zimbabwe. The master plan identified potential tourism nuggets to grow new tourist attractions in Zimbabwe. The plan has identified 11 tourism development zones in Harare, Eastern Highlands, Chimanimani, Gonarezhou, Limpopo, Great Zimbabwe, Midlands, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Kariba and Mavhuradonha. Government has put in place incentives to support investments into special economic zones and tourism development zones that investors can take advantage of.

The national tourism policy agitates for an enabling environment to attract investment into the sector. It also uses tourism to attract foreign direct investment into the country. At the same time, the government will ensure the industry is protected from disinvestment through primary and secondary legislation.

FM: Are you happy with accessibility?        

MN: Accessibility is the backbone of the growth of tourism destinations. And air accessibility contributes significantly to the growth of regional and international tourist arrivals to any destination. Air Zimbabwe, therefore, plays a critical role in providing direct access to Zimbabwe from key source markets and an instrumental role in national identity. The airline connects Harare with local destinations such as Victoria Falls. To strengthen the role of Air Zimbabwe in connecting travellers, the government has allowed private sector players such as Fasjet and Kuva Air to fly from Harare to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Kariba. We are fully behind the capacitation of the airline and the massive investment in the expansion of the ports of entry.

FM: We have seen more airlines returning to this market. Please share with us what has been happening

MN: The cross-cutting role of infrastructure development, such as the expansion of airports has a huge impact on all sectors of the economy. Airport expansion will boost the country’s growth and transformation in trade and tourism as part of strides. Airport expansion, as seen with at Victoria Falls International Airport, will attract new aircrafts and airlines.

The expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport saw African airlines like Ethiopian Airlines, Air Botswana, Fastjet, Airlink and Kenya Airways increasing flight frequencies to the resort town.

It also attracted new airlines like Eurowings from Germany and Mack Air from Botswana.

This also increased the airport’s passenger handling capacity from 500 000 a year to about 1,5 million. 

Expansion will, therefore increase regional and international tourist arrivals into the country, tourism receipts and the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product as well as attainment of the US$ 5billion tourism sector by 2025.

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