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[Zimbabwe] ZIFA petition High Court

By Tawanda Tafirenyika

“#Zimbabwe” AS creditors continue to circle Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), whose account was recently garnished over a debt owed to former senior adminstrator Lazarus Mhurushomana, the soccer controlling body has petitioned the High Court with an urgent chamber application seeking a stay execution of its bank account held with Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited.

In their petition to the High Court ZIFA said if execution of its bank account were to proceed as scheduled, it would be sanctioned by the world’s football body, FIFA, because the funds are meant to be channeled towards football development only.

The matter was on Tuesday briefly heard by High Court judge Justice Alpheus Chitakunye, who postponed it to Wednesday after advising Mhurushomana, who was self-acting, to seek legal advice.

In his founding affidavit, ZIFA president Felton Kamambo said there were fears that the execution of the association’s bank account would also derail both the men’s and women’s soccer team matches set to be played in and outside Zimbabwe.

“As of now, applicant (ZIFA) is about to host the senior women national team international match between Zimbabwe and Zambia on September 1, 2019. The men’s national team is scheduled to play Somalia in Djibouti on September 7, 2019 in the World Cup qualifier. Further the under 23 team are scheduled to play South Africa on September 8, 2019.

The funds that are held in the applicant’s bank accounts are supposed to be used in the logistics for hosting of the said match,” Kamambo said.

“The applicant received funds from its international governing body, being FIFA, and the said money is to be used for specific purposes, being football development. Applicant is under strict instructions not to utilise the said funds for any other purposes other than the intended purposes.

As such, if the money is to be used to pay creditors, applicant faces the risk of sanctions from FIFA, which include suspension of any additional funding.”

In his argument Kamambo said if the writ of execution is allowed to stand, an illegality will be perpetrated in that Mhurushomana will be executing an order of the court without compliance with the Rule of High Court adding that in the event that the money is transferred to Mhurushomana, ZIFA would face the risk of not being able to recover it.

Kamambo further argued that the writ obtained by Mhurushomana was not lawful in that the first order against ZIFA was granted on September 17, 2013 but Mhurushomana obtained the writ of execution on July 26, 2019.

“Respondent did not revive the court order and as such the date of issuance of the writ of execution against the court order had superannuated. The issuance of the writ of execution was in contravention of Order 40 Rule 324 of the Rules of this honourable court,” he said.

Kamambo further said Mhurushomana obtained another writ of execution in 2014, which writ was executed by the Sheriff over the same judgment but the latter did not provide a distribution account of the proceeds realised and distributed in the judicial sale in execution.

“As such the first respondent is in possession of two writs of execution over the same judgment, with the writs of execution being different writs to be realised therefrom. Applicant will suffer irreparable harm in that its funds will be transferred to the first respondent premised on a superannuated judgment,” he said.

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