ZC penalised for ~~illegal~~ foreign payments

Published: Friday, December 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare:Zimbabwe's cricket body (ZC) was fined 12.6 million dollars (Zimb) ($50,400) by a Harare court for breaching the country's stiff foreign exchange laws.

Magistrate Sandra Nhau said although Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) committed the offence "not for the personal gain of individuals but to further the interests of the sport in the country" it was in breach of the law.

The body pleaded guilty to making unauthorised payments to a foreign television company without the go-ahead from the central bank.

The southern African country, reeling under record inflation and a serious shortage of essential goods, fuel and foreign currency, has introduced strict laws on foreign payments which need central bank approval.

State prosecutor Obi Mabahwana told the court at the beginning of the trial on Monday that between November 2004 and September last year, Zimbabwe Cricket had paid Britain-based television production company Octagon CSI $1.3 million (976,629 euros) for advertising and marketing services.

Mabahwana said in the second charge, it sold advertising space at Harare sports club to 7Cs, a South Africa-based company, in May 2005.

For unspecificed reasons, it cancelled the contract with the firm and entered into another deal with Gameplan Limited, based in India.

"The accused (ZC) then directed Gameplan Limited to pay $ 75,000 to 7Cs for breach of contract without the permission of the exchange control authority," the prosecutor told the court.

The association was also accused of paying $42,930 in college fees for three cricket players and a manager's daughter who were pursuing studies overseas.


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