SJN Hearings: Black players implicated in match-fixing were set up by ’intermediary’ Gulam Bodi
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Johannesburg – Cricket SA’s Anti-Corruption Unit head, Louis Cole, told the Social Justice and Nation building hearings that the reason the majority of players implicated in the 2015/16 RamSlam match-fixing scandal were black, is that those were the players Gulam Bodi contacted.
Cole, who led the investigation alongside David Becker, said the pair followed the evidence provided to them. “I gathered through my investigation that they were friends or players he had a relationship with,” Cole told the SJN hearings on Monday.
The match fixing saga came under scrutiny at the SJN when Thami Tsolekile, Ethy Mbhalati and Lonwabo Tsotsobe told the hearings in June, that they felt targeted by the investigators because they are black.
Six of the seven players who were sanctioned for their role in the scandal are black.
“Bodi told us that he approached each one systematically. In the interviews we did and the Whatsapp messages we (obtained) it details the appointments that he made with them and the discussions relating to why he was going to meet them. It sets out the dates he met with them. We just followed the evidence as it was given to us,” said Cole.
Bodi was described as the “intermediary” between the players and a network of illegal gamblers. He was banned from all cricket for 20 years after admitting to his role and later was jailed for five years under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act."
Tsolekile, Mbhalati and Tsotsobe were all banned for periods ranging between 10 and 12 years. Mbhalati and Tsotsobe had requested that the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza call on CSA to reopen the investigation.
Meanwhile, Cole also testified on Monday, that the investigation found no evidence that any match was fixed in the 2015/16 competition.
Alviro Petersen, another player who had been sanctioned following the investigation, told the SJN in July that fixing occurred in the tournament.
“I maintain that fixing took place in the T20 RamSlam competition (in) 2015/16 ... despite Cricket SA saying in a communication that no fixing took place," said Petersen.
Cole, who provided a detailed affidavit that included a 30 minute video outlining parts of interviews the investigators did with the players who were implicated, said the match Petersen may have been referring to showed no signs of having been fixed.
“The evidence I uncovered was that it was a botched attempt on – November 4 2015 – they got it wrong, so there was nothing.”
That match between the Lions – for whom Petersen, Tsolekile and Tsotsobe all played and Dolphins in Durban, had been the subject of much activity with meetings between Petersen, Bodi and the illegal gamblers taking place on the morning of the match.
Petersen informed Cole half an hour before the start of play that the match would be fixed, claiming he’d overheard a conversation between Tsolekile and Tsotsobe.
“I contacted the ICC, who contacted Sports Radar Services. What they do is they monitor spikes in betting patterns to see if a certain incident has occurred and whether there is increased betting patterns on that particular incident,” Cole told the SJN.
Part of the video shown Monday, included a very wide ball bowled by Tsotsobe late in the match, which Cole said had been highlighted as unusual for a bowler of Tsotsobe’s ability – who in 2012 was ranked the No 1 ODI bowler in the world.
“(Sports Radar Security Services) indicated that (the wide) was unusual but they also indicated that there was no evidence in terms of the betting patterns that a fix actually took place,” said Cole.
As for Petersen’s assertion that a match was fixed, Cole said that Petersen would be in violation of the same act that saw Bodi jailed if he did not properly report the incident.
“If he had evidence that something happened he was obliged to report that to me or in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, he has an obligation to report a corrupt approach. He would put himself at risk of being charged for that, if he did have information to that effect,” said Cole.