Suspended Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) executives Felton Kamambo, Philemon Machana, Stanley Chapeta, Joseph Mamutse and Bryton Malandule have all disputed claims that they used ZIFA letterhead while they were on suspension.
The five are being charged with fraud, an allegation they believe is a fabrication and based on a personal vendetta.
The trial opened Thursday morning before regional magistrate Taurai Manuwere where the five through their lawyer Admire Rubaya tendering their defence to the allegations.
The five argued that Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) board chair Gerald Mlothswa has a grudge against Machana for causing his arrest in 2004 and an abuse of the justice delivery system. Their defence outline read:
The accused persons assert that this case is a clear case of abuse of the criminal justice system by members of the SRC board who have been misinforming the political leadership of the republic as well as the general populace.
They further assert that the SRC board chair has a vendetta against the second accused person for causing his arrest sometime around 2004 when the second accused was still an accountant for the company which complained against the SRC board chairperson.
They said their suspension is of no effect as it is not recognized by FIFA and CAF and has caused the suspension of the country’s football and reduced the local league to a boozers’ tournament.
It is also their argument that the move by SRC is a diversionary tactic to have the nation banned in the guise of interference yet the reason is a lack of proper infrastructure.