Why Cricket SA was forced to act against Alviro Petersen

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Cricket SA on Saturday charged Petersen with “several breaches of its Anti-Corruption Code,” as the investigation into the RamSlam match-fixing scandal continued.

Petersen had trained with his franchise the Lions last week in preparation for the opening match of the T20 Challenge against the Titans at the Wanderers. Petersen had allegedly informed the Lions that there was nothing stopping him from playing.

However it is understood that Cricket SA, upon seeing the squad lists on Friday, got its lawyers to move quickly Saturday morning suspending Petersen from all professional cricket activities and giving him 14 days to respond to the charges.

Two weeks ago Cricket SA had given Petersen an ultimatum to respond to a plea bargain agreement with the organisation’s Anti-Corruption Unit. No agreement was reached however.

Petersen’s involvement in the scandal has been clouded in mystery.

In August Cricket SA issued lengthy bans - ranging between 10 and 12 years - to Thami Tsolekile, Pumi Matshikwe and Jean Symes, all teammates of Petersen’s at the Lions and Ethy Mbhalati (Titans), for their involvement which included not reporting approaches.

Petersen had claimed earlier this year that he was the whistleblower who initially revealed to the SA Cricketers Association (the players union) that Gulam Bodi, described as the “intermediary” between illegal betting agencies believed to be based in the Asian sub-continent and the local players, was attempting to fix elements of matches in last season’s RamSlam.

There have been whispers from people with knowledge of the investigation that Petersen may have exaggerated those claims and that he only turned on the others when he was unsatisfied about how much money he was to receive.

In January this year CSA banned Bodi for 20 years from all involvement in cricket, for attempting to fix elements of matches in last season’s RamSlam. At the time Cricket SA’s CEO Haroon Lorgat maintained that the organisation was confident no matches or parts of matches were fixed and that the scheme was caught in the “planning phase.”

According to a release from CSA on Saturday, Petersen has been charged with:

*Contriving to fix or otherwise improperly influence, or being party to a scheme in which attempts would be made to fix or otherwise improperly influence, a match or matches in the 2015 RamSlam;

* Seeking to accept, accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe or reward to fix or contrive to fix or influence improperly a match or matches;

*Failing to disclose to the Designated Anti-Corruption Official (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations to engage in Corrupt Conduct under the Code;

* Failure to disclose to the Designated Anti-Corruption Official (without unnecessary delay) full details of any incident or fact that may evidence Corrupt Conduct under the Code by another participant;

*Nine counts of failing to disclose (without unnecessary delay) accurate and complete information and/or documentation to the Designated Anti-Corruption Official;

*Obstructing or delaying the investigation by concealing, tampering with or destroying information or documentation relevant to the investigation.

Petersen, 35, played the last of his 36 Tests against the West Indies at Newlands in January 2015. He’s also played 21 One-day Internationals and two T20 matches for South Africa.

His last first class was for English county Lancashire in September this year against Middlesex.

He has not played for the Lions since returning to the country after missing Lancashire’s final game of the county season. His wife had experienced complications with the birth of the couple’s second child.

The T20 Challenge is Cricket SA’s most widely watched domestic competition but the organisation have been unable to find a title sponsor for this season’s event.

CSA, through its marketing and commercialisation head, Clive Eksteen recently said that the scandal has been raised by potential sponsors concerned that the investigation has yet to be concluded. However it was not the reason they were unwilling to attach their names to the event said Eksteen.

@shockerhess

stuart.hess@inl.co.za

Independent Media

Original source: Why Cricket SA was forced to act against Alviro Petersen

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