The Zimbabwe crisis December 6, 2005

Chingoka and Bvute arrested



Peter Chingoka (top) and Ozias Bvute: arrested by police © Getty Images/ ZCU
Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, and Ozias Bvute, the managing director, were arrested late on Monday after surrendering themselves at Harare Central police station. The pair are understood to have arrived accompanied by their lawyer, Wilton Manashe.

The news was confirmed by Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka who said: "They have been charged with contravening sections of the Exchange Control Act, and they will appear in court soon." He added that more arrests could follow in the coming days.

A source close to Zimbabwe Cricket said that the charges relate to the ongoing investigation being carried out by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It is thought that the pair were charged with several offences.

The ZC board is now expected to meet as a matter of urgency and it is widely rumoured that Chingoka and Bvute will be removed from office. An insider said that the first move would then be to gain entrance to their heavily-locked offices, and hand over all the books and accounts to a forensic auditor.

It is known that ZC is in deep financial trouble. Harare Sports Club has not been paid rent for office space by ZC for two months, and many players have not had their match fees from the New Zealand and India series almost three months ago. The full scale of the financial predicament is not yet known.

The forensic audit will include investigation into alleged importation of many top of the range vehicles for resale in Harare and unexplained cash withdrawals.

If Chingoka and Bvute are ousted then it will pave the way for the striking players to return. Tatenda Taibu, who quit as Zimbabwe's captain last week, is likely to resume and other players who retired because of the Chingoka-led ZC's conduct might also be persuaded to reconsider.

Lovemore Banda, the ZC media manager, repeatedly denied he knew anything about the arrests but failed to respond when asked several times to clarify the situation.

In a letter to the ICC last week, the seven provincial chairmen asked for a freeze on all foreign income pending investigation of transactions through an account in London, income and expenditure accounts for TV companies and "other allegations of several instances of impropriety in ZC".

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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