Photo: Eranga Jayawardena/AP

CAPE TOWN - Former Proteas and Highveld Lions bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has apologised “to cricket lovers all over the world” after Cricket South Africa banned him for eight years for several breaches of its Anti-Corruption Code for Personnel.

Tsotsobe, 33, has admitted to contraventions of the code.

It follows a detailed investigation by Cricket SA, which in January 2016 banned former Proteas, Lions and Titans batsman Gulam Bodi for 20 years after he admitted to charges of attempting to fix matches in the T20 Challenge series in 2015.

Tsotsobe played five Tests, 61 ODIs and 23 T20Is for South Africa since January 2009. His last appearance for the Proteas was in 2014.

He played 61 first-class matches, 144 List A games and 77 T20s, and topped the ICC (International Cricket Council) bowling rankings in 2012.

“I wish to apologise to cricket lovers all over the world. I was, at the time, in a very vulnerable financial state and this dilemma too easily persuaded me to participate in spot-fixing,” Tsotsobe said on Tuesday.

“There are no words to describe the regret I have in relation to my actions, and I hope that the cricket world could consider my apology and understand my deepest feeling of remorse.”

He admitted to one charge of contriving to fix a match, two charges for failing to disclose to the Cricket SA anti-corruption officer the details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct, two charges of failing to disclose full details of matters evidencing a breach of the code by another participant, three charges of failing or refusing to co-operate with an investigation (including failing to provide accurate and complete information), and two charges of obstructing or delaying the investigation by destroying evidence and concealing information.

“Mr Tsotsobe has ultimately admitted his mistakes in contravening the CSA anti-corruption code and, while no fix actually took place, it is clear that he was active in plans to participate in spot- fixing and hence the sanction imposed on him,” Cricket SA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.

Jean Symes, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe, Thami Tsolekile and Alviro Petersen have previously admitted to contraventions of the code and banned for periods between two and 12 years.

“The investigative team have completed a thorough and far-reaching investigation. I am satisfied that all the culprits have been duly prosecuted under the code and, unless we receive or uncover any new or previously undisclosed information, we believe we can now bring this matter to a close,” said Bernard Ngoepe, the independent chairperson of Cricket SA’s anti-corruption unit and former judge president of the North and South Gauteng High Courts.

“We were fortunate that in this case the reporting structures that CSA and Saca (South African Cricketers’ Association) have put in place worked.”

“However, we must remain vigilant to the continuing threat of corrupt activity in domestic and international cricket,” he said.

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Cape Times