SACKED ZIFA CEO Henrietta Rushwaya had six charges of corruption, bribery and fraud dropped Thursday after prosecutors told a Harare magistrate they could not bring witnesses to court.
An evidently relieved Rushwaya said she was not surprised the charges had been dropped insisting the State never had a case against her.
"It was obvious that the state never had a case against me, they just rushed to have me incarcerated but now it is all coming to pass what we said before that these are baseless allegations,” she said.
But there was drama outside the court as a group of people calling themselves Warriors Friends Club chanted slogans and sang songs denouncing corruption and those involved in the scandal dubbed 'Asiagate'.
Still, Rushwaya was not fazed and dismissed them as hired gangs, adding that none of them looked like a football fan.
The former ZIFA boss was facing allegations of masterminding a US$1 million match fixing scandal under which national team players and officials were allegedly paid to lose friendly matches on trips to Asia between 2007 and 2009.
But she will now face just one charge after six others were dropped with the State saying principal witnesses could not be brought to court.
Prosecutors said Jonathan Musavengana, a former ZIFA programmes officer, could not be located while Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, the alleged leader of the betting syndicate, was jailed in Finland for match fixing activities in that country.
Rushwaya will now stand trial on June 17 for allegedly facilitating a trip to Malaysia by football side Monomotapa in 2009 where the Harare club posed as the national team, sparking a worldwide scandal.
Her lawyer Jonathan Samkange dismissed the remaining charge as a face-saver for the prosecution after their main case against his client collapsed.
"She was facing seven counts but six were dropped because the state has no evidence at all. We said it in the beginning that these were merely fictitious allegations trumped up against my client,” he said.
"The anti-corruption team should not have rushed to have my client arrested, now they are the ones eating humble pie. This one charge is nothing but 'matandanyadzi' (face-server). It is a happy day for my client."
In February, ZIFA banned more than 80 players and officials linked to the Asiagate scandal from any involvement with the national side until they are cleared by the association’s ethics committee.
Retired judge Justice Ahmed Ibrahim, who heads the ethics committee, recently announced that 30 players had been cleared for lack of evidence.
Anger ... Fans demonstrated outside court even before prosecutors withdrew charges