South Africa bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has been banned for eight years from international and domestic cricket after admitting to trying to fix a match during the 2015 edition of the Ram Slam tournament. His ban will start from 24 April 2017, when he was provisionally suspended for match-fixing.
Tsotsobe confessed to two charges of failing to disclose to the CSA Anti-Corruption Officer the full 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 that was relevant to the investigation.
"Cricket South Africa (CSA) has banned former Proteas and Highveld Lions player Lonwabo Tsotsobe for several breaches of its Anti-Corruption Code for Personnel. Tsotsobe, who has admitted contraventions of the Code, has been banned for eight years," a Cricket South Africa release stated.
"The banning of Tsotsobe follows a lengthy and detailed investigation and the previous imposition by CSA in January 2016 of a twenty-year ban on former Proteas, Lions and Titans player Gulam Bodi after Bodi had admitted charges of contriving or attempting to fix matches in the 2015 Ram Slam T20 Challenge Series. Five other players (Jean Symes, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe, Thami Tsolekile and Alviro Petersen) have since admitted contraventions of the Code and have been banned for periods ranging between two to twelve years," the release added.
The Anti-Corruption Unit has been investigating the events leading up to the 2015 Ram Slam match-fixing scandal since November 2015.
"Mr Tsotsobe has ultimately admitted his mistakes in contravening the CSA Anti-Corruption Code and, whilst no fix actually took place, it is clear that he was active in plans to participate in spot fixing and hence the sanction (has been) imposed on him," commenting on Tsotsobe's ban, CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said, as quoted by Cricbuzz
Tsotsobe apologised for his involvement in the fixing scandal and describe his situation at that time.
"I wish to apologise to cricket lovers all over the world," Tsotsobe said. "I was, at the time, in a very vulnerable financial state and this dilemma too easily persuaded me to participate in spot fixing. 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."
The Independent Chairperson of CSA's Anti-Corruption Unit and former Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Courts, Bernard Ngoepe said, "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. We were fortunate that in this case the reporting structures that CSA and SACA have put in place worked. However, we must remain vigilant to the continuing threat of corrupt activity in domestic and international cricket."
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