HARARE – Former Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Nyararai Sibanda usurped the role of ex-chief executive Colleen de Jong in order to siphon funds from the union.
This is one of the allegations contained in the report compiled by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) commission that was set up following Sibanda’s and his board’s suspension in August.
“The president (Sibanda) would get reimbursements and travel payments in his favour for his movements between Bulawayo and Harare without board approval that led to the then CEO (De Jong) signing for the payments under protest, thereby leading to the breakdown of relations between the president and the CEO. That eventually led to the resignation of the CEO,” the report states.
“Immediately after the departure of the CEO the president, without authorisation of the Executive Committee assumed the role of CEO, thus he became operational and not accountable to anybody.
“There were too many funded trips for the president raising concern that some of the trips might not have been undertaken in the interest of ZRU as there is no correlation between the travels and rugby related business.
“The president had access to the ZRU account, hence would cause for the funding of international and local trips but would not give any feedback to ZRU, thereby creating doubt that he was being funded for official business.”
Under Sibanda’s stewardship, ZRU was being run like a “boys club” without any regard for laid down statutes and regulations.
“Meetings (board) were not called in line with ZRU constitution . . . instead the president was involved in calling for ad hoc meetings, no agendas were circulated and no waiver of notice was sought . . . meetings were not held as regularly as provided for . . . with the last one having been held on September 16, 2016,” the report alleges.
“Since September 2016 to the time of the suspension of the ZRU executive members (elected and appointed), only one meeting was held in February 2017.
“The national board was supposed to meet at least once a quarter, therefore the executive committee was supposed to meet more frequently than the board.”
There was also no transparent recruitment process when it came to finding De Jong’s replacement before ZRU finally settled for Blessing Chiutare, who is operating without a contract.
“In 2017 the ZRU employed a well experienced CEO (Chiutare), but did not give him Terms of Reference and did not give him a contract.
“No official handover-takeover was done, and instructions would come to him separately from the two vice presidents which at times would be contradicting.
“Up to the time of the enquiry, the CEO had no contract of employment.”