HARARE – There was drama at Zifa headquarters yesterday after staff tried to block the Messenger of Court from attaching property over a debt owed to photographer Lazarus Riva.
Riva has been in a long-running legal battle to recuperate at least $19 000 he is owed by the association dating back to former president Cuthbert Dube’s reign.
Since last year, Riva has been in the possession of a High Court writ of execution to attach Zifa’s movable property over the debt.
The new Zifa board led by president Philip Chiyangwa has been negotiating with Riva in the past few months but a solution could not be reached.
Initially, Riva was owed $23 000 and when he received a default judgment from the High Court last year, Chiyangwa’s board agreed to pay the debt in instalments.
In December last year, Zifa made an instalment of $5 000 to service the debt and agreed to settle the remainder with another two instalments in March and April this year.
Despite failing to service the debt, Zifa did not make any efforts to contact Riva to give him reasons or seek another grace period to settle the debt.
Yesterday, the Messenger of Court attached almost all the furniture including desks, chairs and file cabinets at 53 Livingstone Avenue leaving the Zifa HQ bare.
There are also indications that the Messenger of Court is also likely to pounce on the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden today to attach more of the association’s property.
With Chiyangwa currently in South Africa attending to personal business, everyone at the association was elusive when reached for comment by the Daily News yesterday.
Chiyangwa’s vice Omega Sibanda, board member finance Philemon Machana and acting-CEO Joseph Mamutse are currently in Mexico attending the Fifa Congress in Mexico City, Mexico which kicked-off on Monday.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela referred all questions to the association’s legal advisor Itayi Ndudzo.
“Yes the property was attached but you can speak to…Ndudzo for more details,” Gwesela said.
Ndudzo said his hands were tied since he was only an advisor and not a member of the Zifa board.
“The financial problems of Zifa are well-documented. I understand that…Machana has signed an acknowledgement of debt and it was not honoured hence the attachment of the property,” Ndudzo said.
“What I know is that this is a long outstanding matter. It’s more of a financial issue than a legal matter. Only…Machana can comment on it.”