Zimbabwe Graft Body Probes Journalists

National team players are alleged to have taken bribes to throw away matches played in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand in what is now referred to as Asiagate.

Former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya was last month charged with bribery and corruption after the graft busting body arrested her in connection with the scandal.

ZACC investigators this week started interviewing journalists from the country’s major newspapers about the trips.

On Monday they visited Alpha Media Holdings, which publishes NewsDay, the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard.

But they were turned away because they did not have the necessary identification papers and returned for the investigations on Tuesday. None of the journalists from the group travelled with national teams during the Asian trips but the investigators insisted they could provide useful information that would assist their investigations.

Robson Sharuko, the sports editor of the state owned Herald newspaper was named in a ZIFA report into the scandal as one of the people who were heavily involved. Shabanie Mine coach Luke Masomere who was in charge of the national team that played in Vietnam in 2007 implicated Sharuko. He said the journalist “would show excitement” whenever the match fixing scandal’s architect Wilson Raj Perumal was around.

“We used to discuss our discussions (team planning) in Robson’s room,” Masomere claimed in the ZIFA report. “We discussed about these trips and how rich paying they were.

“They divulged to me that they had bought cars and built to completion their houses (from past payments).

Perumal is in jail in Hungary after serving a sentence in Finland after serving his sentence for match fixing.

The state owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation also suspended a senior journalist over the matter.