Zimbabwe news December 11, 2008

Harare court to probe Zimbabwe Cricket finances

Cricinfo staff

The latest development in the Taibu case is likely to stump Zimbabwe Cricket officials © Cricinfo Ltd
A Harare court has ordered Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) to submit documents concerning its payroll, sponsorship deals and ICC grants following claims of financial mismanagement by the former Zimbabwe captain, Tatenda Taibu.

Taibu appeared in court on Thursday facing charges of assault on ZC's general finance manager, Esther Lupepe, in October. He has claimed his innocence throughout and has countered that the accusation is part of a wider plot by ZC to silence him from going public on his concerns over their handling of funds and the poor incomes afforded to players. The court has now adjourned until February 6.

Taibu's alleged row with Lupepe in September is believed to have resulted from ZC declining to pay expenses claimed by him relating to his taking his family to Pakistan with the squad earlier this year. He maintains ZC agreed to underwrite those costs but later refused to honour that commitment.

Taibu has had a fractious relationship with senior board officials ever since he walked out in 2005 following what he said were threats made against his family. He subsequently returned, but following the accusations by Lupepe he was only persuaded at the last minute to join the national squad when it headed to Canada.

He is not the first to raise concern over financial irregularities by ZC. An independent forensic audit carried out by KPMG showed up misuse of funds by board officials, but the ICC, at an executive meeting earlier this year, decided not to take any major action against Zimbabwe, which ultimately led to a fallout between Ray Mali, the president, and chief executive Malcolm Speed - Speed, who opposed the inaction, was later sent on gardening leave.