Honeymoon over for organised sport corruption offenders

May 20, 2021

….. As SRC, NPA sign MoU

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

The Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the prosecution of all criminal offences arising from sporting and recreational activities, Business Times can report.

Zimbabwe has over the years been ravaged by allegations of sport vices such as corruption, doping, age cheating, misappropriation of funds, election rigging and illegal betting, among many challenges.

But, the signing of the MoU, analysts said, could be a deterrent measure to such vices.

The MoU will also pave way for the creation of a Special National Prosecution Authority unit to deal with offenders.

The SRC has also drafted a Sports Integrity Bill, which is now with the Attorney General, as part of efforts to eradicate sport corruption.

The MoU signing ceremony yesterday was graced by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, a sign that the government is taking the fight against corruption seriously.

“It’s a historic event in the history of governance of sports in Zimbabwe. We have been fighting corruption but lack of dedicated legislation was letting us down and this led to the demise of sporting infrastructure,” the SRC board chairman, Gerald Mlotshwa said.

He added: “The signing of this MoU signals a serious intent by SRC and NPA to remedy this. It shows we are committed to eradicating corruption in sports. We have also drafted a Sporting Integrity Bill which will be enacted before the end of the year.

The time is past for paying lip service. You (Sports associations) are warned.”

Prosecutor general, Kumbirai Hodzi who signed the MoU on behalf of NPA said the government was committed to eradicate crime in sport.

He said the NPA was setting up a directorate in sports which is going to deal with such organised crime in sport.

“Sports is now a high paying industry. Some have made fortunes from sports.

But, it’s regrettable that there have been organised syndicates, responsible for match fixing and doping, taking advantage of our weak legislation,” Hodzi said.

He added: Government is committed to fighting corruption and crimes of any kind in all sports. This (MoU) means the next few weeks

will mark a departure from just talking to robust action that we are going to take. The MoU is therefore a manifestation of government desire to eradicate crime in sport.

Ziyambi said there has been corruption in training and in the determination of match results especially at the end of a season.”

“There is a lot of indiscipline going on there including match fixing, age cheating and doping. Even when we want to call the sports association to order, they always want to refer to some statutes in FIFA or Interna

tional Cricket Council. The sports associations were taking advantage of lack of dedicated sports legislation.

Now, this (MoU) will allow the capacitation of our prosecutors in sports. We now want our professional athletes to compete fairly.

We are now going to rid of corruption. We want it to be a fair sport.”

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