TELFORD VICE and LIAM DEL CARME
MATCH-FIXING could get you a life sentence in SA, a fact that will be uppermost for those implicated in the current investigation into corruption in cricket in this country.
On November 6, Cricket SA (CSA) said they were “carrying out an investigation after gathering intelligence that an international syndicate is attempting to corrupt domestic cricket in SA”.
CSA said on December 15 that they had provisionally suspended an “intermediary” for “contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects of the 2015 (franchise) … T20 … series and with failing or refusing, without compelling justification, to co-operate with an investigation carried out by CSA’s designated anti-corruption official”.
Speculation has since mounted about the identity of the “intermediary”. The latest theory is centered on an as yet unnamed former national player.
Whoever the guilty party is, they should be quaking in their boots.
The “Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act” of 2004 includes what is known as the “Hansie” clause, a reference to former SA captain Hansie Cronje, who was banned from cricket for life in 2000 for accepting money to illicitly influence the outcome of matches.
According to the Act, “Any person who … accepts or agrees or offers to accept any gratification from any other person … or gives or agrees or offers to give to any other person any gratification … in return for engaging in any act which constitutes a threat to or undermines the integrity of any sporting event … including, in any way influencing the run of play or the outcome of a sporting event; or not reporting the act … is guilty of the offence of corrupt activities relating to sporting events”.
That means all those who make such offers, as well as those who know of offers but do not reveal them to the relevant authorities, are guilty of breaking the law.
The stipulated penalties include a fine or imprisonment – up to a life sentence if the accused is convicted in the High Court. That drops to a maximum of 18 years if the case is heard in a regional court, and five years in a magistrate’s court.
Exactly who is in trouble remains a mystery, although several names have been bandied about.
“The investigation is still under way,” CSA spokesperson Altaaf Kazi said on Wednesday. “We don’t have any further comment.”
He could not provide any answers about the investigation team or the anti-corruption unit, saying he, too, was in the dark about their workings.
Asked whether the investigation was internal or had been handed to the SA Police Services, Kazi said: “We are waiting for our anti-corruption unit. Only then will we know where we stand.
“I don’t know if the person has been charged at a police station in accordance with SA law. That is for the anti-corruption unit to decide.
“We have said in a statement that a person of interest has been identified. That person is the intermediary. Whether the intermediary is also the former Proteas player I don’t know because I am far away from the investigation.”