Cricket South Africa (CSA) has responded to allegations by certain banned players for their role in the match fixing scandal of the 2015 Ram Slam competition.
Former players Thami Tsolekile and Gulam Bodi received lengthy and life-time bans from the game respectively for being implicated with illegal irregularities, while other players also copped severe punishment for their involvement.
Earlier this week Tsolekile was a guest on Robert Marawa’s Marawa Sports Worldwide show and referred back to the dark incident that caused CSA a lot of trouble.
According to the former wicketkeeper, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Robbie Frylinck were also involved with Bodi’s plans but never reported it to the authorities, escaping bans in the process.
In a statement released by CSA on Friday morning, the organisation highlighted with concern the comments that were made by Tsolekile, saying the correct legal processes were followed when the bans were enforced.
‘A comprehensive investigation was carried out over approximately 18 months with the CSA Anti-Corruption Unit acting in collaboration with, and with the assistance of, Judge Ngoepe, specialist external lawyers, the ICC, the BCCI, the Hawks and an external digital forensic team. The CSA Board was kept regularly updated on developments pertaining to the investigation,’ read the statement.
‘The players largely co-operated with the investigation. Each of the players was represented by their own attorneys who assisted in advising them on their rights and obligations under the CSA Anti-Corruption Code. These attorneys had the opportunity of sitting in on every meeting with the respective players, and assisted them in both evaluating the evidence presented and in concluding their Sanction Agreements in terms of which they pleaded guilty to various corruption-related offences under the Code.
‘At no time did any of the players or their respective attorneys submit that they were coerced into admitting their guilt or signing their Sanction Agreements. They did so willingly and, in fact, were consulted on, and provided input into, the respective press releases announcing confirmation of the offences to which they had admitted. Audio and video recordings were made of all the interviews with all the participants and now form part of the ongoing criminal investigation.
‘On the allegation made by Mr Tsolekile that he was not presented with any evidence and did not receive any charges, Judge Ngoepe said: “This is not the truth. Mr Tsolekile received a formal charge sheet as is required under the Code. He was also presented with extensive evidence in the presence of his lawyer.”
‘As regards the accusations relating to alleged discrimination, Judge Ngoepe said: “The allegation that the investigation deliberately targeted black players must also be rejected. Both white and black players were investigated and charged, based on the evidence that was collected and presented.”
‘According to Mr Bodi, the names of many prominent players and icons of the game, both black and white, were bandied around by him as a tactic to put players that he approached at ease. The possible involvement of all these players was thoroughly investigated. It is not practice during investigations, nor fair towards these players who were cited, to publicize their names.
‘As regards the allegation that Vaughn van Jaarsveld was approached by Mr Bodi and failed to disclose this approach, CSA confirms that both he and Craig Alexander were approached by Mr Bodi and both players reported the matter to SACA and to the ACU as required by CSA Anti-Corruption Code and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Act 12 of 2004). Their possible involvement in the match fixing scheme was fully investigated not only by the investigating team but also by the Hawks and they were cleared of any wrongdoing.
‘“Both Vaughn and Craig must be commended for doing the right thing,” said Judge Ngoepe. “They acted with courage and integrity, notwithstanding the pressure that was placed upon them.” CSA undertook to protect the identity of these players during the investigation in their own interest and that of their families. This process is important as the ACU relies on the goodwill and responsibility of players to come forward when they are approached.’