JOHANNESBURG – Ethy Mbhalati told the Social Justice and Nation Building hearing that he wanted to have the investigation into the 2015/16 match fixing saga re-opened and investigated by “independent people”.
Mbhalati was one of seven players who received various degrees of punishment for their involvement in the match-fixing affair.
“I would like the Ombudsman to request that CSA reopen the whole case, and it must be conducted properly, by completely independent people, and the players must appear before the independent court. We must be properly represented, the lawyers that we want , not the lawyers given to us by Saca (the SA Cricketers Association),” said Mbhalati.
Mbhalati was banned for 10 years, with Cricket SA stating in 2016 that he received “a payment or incentive to fix or contrive to influence improperly a match or matches in the 2015 RAM SLAM; making a payment which in the circumstances would bring the sport of cricket into disrepute; failing to disclose to the CSA Anti-Corruption officer a payment which they knew or ought to have known was given to them to procure a breach of the Code; failing to disclose details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct and failing to disclose full details of matters evidencing a breach of the Code by another participant.”
Mbhalati is the second player to call for the match fixing scandal to be reopened, following Lonwabo Tsotsobe last week. Tsotsobe was banned for eight years for his part in the scandal.
Mbhalati said that although he was very close to Gulam Bodi – the primary instigator in the affair, who was banned from cricket for 20 years by CSA and subsequently jailed for five years – he shared all the information with the investigators.
“I was very close with Gulam. There were things I was asking him – ‘what happened?’ ‘how did you guys plan all these things?’ and I remember one day he said to me, ‘you know if it wasn’t for Alviro Petersen, then I wasn’t going to get caught. Alviro is the one who told Louis Cole about me, that is why I got caught’.”
Cole is the head of CSA’s Anti-Corruption, who led the investigation along with independent attorney David Becker, a former head of legal at the International Cricket Council.
Mbhalati testified that he had been forced into accepting his ban describing coercion involving Becker, Cole and the lawyers hired on his behalf by Saca.
“They said I had to sign that sanction. I said I’m not going to sign. They said that that is the best that they could do. They said I had to sign it, nor was I allowed to go to another law firm to help me, nor could I share information to help me, and that my career was over anyway.”
“I told them I thought the sanction was too harsh. They asked ‘why (I thought so)?’ And I told them that I co-operated with them, it was too harsh, everything they asked me to do, I did.
“I gave them my bank statements, my cellphone records, everything they asked for I gave them.”
Mbhalati, who didn’t play a match in that season’s RamSlam, added that the “whole investigation was very biased,” and that he wanted to know from investigators, “which match I tried to fix.”