Taibu slapped with ten-match ban
"Soon after the incident occurred, I personally enquired why this had happened, and Tatenda confessed to me that he had assaulted Esther and did not know what had come over him," Ozias Bvute, ZC's chief executive told Cricinfo. "He further asked for me to intervene by arranging a meeting with Esther and her husband in order for him to apologise. I tried to arrange the meeting between the three parties but Esther and her husband were not prepared to meet with Tatenda."
In a letter to Bvute, Taibu wrote that he had gone to the travel agents to collect money owed to him to pay for an operation. "Lupepe … was non-sympathetic and due to the pressing scenario … did not take it kindly to this behaviour and unprofessional manner of the finance department, and thus reacted in the manner I did."
The matter went to court when Lupepe decided to file charges, but before the verdict was handed down, a three-man internal disciplinary hearing called by ZC found Taibu guilty.
"At the time we decided to wait for the court case to end before making the outcome of the internal hearing public," Bvute said. "Subsequently, I held a meeting with Tatenda advising him of the outcome of the internal hearing. I asked Tatenda why his lawyer had made all the allegations that he had made against ZC and most importantly why Tatenda had retracted his earlier statement where he had indicated that he had assaulted Esther.
"Tatenda's words were 'I did not intend to tell lies, I advised my lawyer what had happened and my lawyer said to me 'your job is to play cricket and my job is to defend you, therefore leave the rest to me'.' I enquired if he was comfortable about having lied to the courts and he indicated that he was not, but that given the position he was in, he had to defend himself to avoid prosecution."
A full ZC board meeting on June 23 discussed the situation and it was decided to proceed with the punishment handed down by the disciplinary hearing as it was "a true reflection of the process".
"For the record, ZC as an entity does not harbour any ill-feeling towards Tatenda," Bvute said. "He is a product of our development programme and we have supported his growth from when he was a school boy, we therefore have no desire to see him achieve any less than his full potential. It is however a premise that he and other players conduct themselves in a manner that is befitting of a national team player and in many cases role model. It is therefore important that discipline is an overriding principal that governs the relationship we have with our players.
"This is not the first time that Tatenda has been left off the national squad. He was not a member of the last squad which played against India and the decision was centred on discipline and form."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa