Matchfixer Tan freed

HARARE - Serial match-fixer and one of the brains behind the Asiagate match-fixing scandal Dan Tan was released from a Singapore jail yesterday after authorities failed to build a case against him.

Tan, whose real is Tan Seet Eng, was arrested in October 2013 after Italian authorities accused him of being the mastermind of a gang that fixed over 700 matches across the world, Zimbabwe included.

The 51-year-old was detained under a Singaporean law that allows authorities to hold a criminal indefinitely for public safety.

However, Singapore High Court judge Sundaresh Menon ordered Tan’s release saying: “The matches fixed, whether or not successfully, all took place beyond our shores.

“There is nothing in the grounds to indicate (he) was working with overseas criminal syndicates or to suggest that such activities are likely to take root in Singapore, by reason of anything (he) has done or threatens to do.”

Tan is the mentor and business partner of self-confessed match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal believed to have orchestrated the Asiagate match-fixing scandal here.

Tan and Perumal’s company Exclusive Sports PTE Ltd, is alleged to have arranged international friendly matches for local teams between 2007 and 2009.

During the period, various Zimbabwe national teams and clubs were paid to lose matches by predetermined scorelines during international friendly tournaments in Asia.

After the scandal came to light, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), quickly moved to conduct an investigation into the matter which saw at least 100 players suspended and a handful of officials being investigated.

At the end of the investigations, Zifa pardoned most of the players, who walked away after paying fines of various amounts.

However, 15 individuals including ex-Zifa officials Henrietta Rushwaya, Jonathan Musavengana, ex-Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa together with players Thomas Sweswe, Guthrie Zhokinyi, Method Mwanjali and Edmore Sibanda were handed life bans.     

There was confusion surrounding the penalties after Fifa refused to endorse the Zifa bans.

Former Dynamos defender and captain Zhokinyu and CAPS United goalkeeper Sibanda had their careers curtailed by the life bans.

On the other hand, Sweswe and Mwanjali continued with their playing careers in South Africa despite being under life bans.

It was the same case with Chidzambwa, who also continued with his coaching career across the Limpopo.

It was only at the start of this year when Zifa began lifting the bans on certain individuals which saw Mwanjali, Sweswe, Sibanda and Chidzambwa all making their comebacks on the local scene.

In order to ensure that match-fixing does not reoccur in local football, new Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane has proposed to enact laws which deal with the cancer.

“Following the Sport and Recreation Commission inquiry into the state of football in Zimbabwe, government has noted with great concern, the lack of accountability, non-compliance and lack of good governance characterising the football architecture in Zimbabwe,” Hlongwane said recently.

“The cancer of corruption traverses all sections of the football fraternity thereby crippling the optimal development of football in Zimbabwe.

“It is therefore, government’s intention to deal with the cancer of corruption in football and other sport codes, by including but not limited to, the introduction of legislation on match fixing as well as doping.”     

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