Thatscricket - News - King report: Cronje open to prosecution
Published: Friday, June 29, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Cape Town: Disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje was left open to prosecution after retired judge Edwin King issued his final report on Friday on corruption in the country's cricket.Cronje's legal team had reached an agreement with the state that he would escape criminal charges if he made a full disclosure to the King commission about taking money from bookmakers - but that indemnity offer had been conditional on King's making a ruling on Cronjes credibility."The commissioner is not in a position to express such opinion and has advised the national director (Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka) accordingly," King wrote.Ngcuka's spokesman, Sipho Ngwema, told AFP the report meant there was no basis to continue the indemnity offer."He is not going to get indemnity because our deal with Hansie and his lawyers was that the judge pronounce on the credibility of Mr Cronje," he said."The judge says in his report he is unable to pronounce on whether Hansie Cronje was a credible witness or not, Hansie Cronje does not have indemnity."The directorate had yet to make a decision on whether to investigate criminal charges against Cronje, Ngwema said. King's report contained no new recommendations, providing a low-key ending to an inquiry, which opened with sensational revelations of cricket corruption but then petered out because of a lack of new evidence and the tactics of Cronjes legal team.Cronje was banned from cricket for life after admitting to the commission that he had received more than $ 100,000 from bookmakers and had persuaded two South African players, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams, to under-perform in return for money.South African President Thabo Mbeki appointed King after the allegations of graft first surfaced last year. King said the commissions work had been hampered by the refusal of Indian authorities to release tape recordings of conversations involving Cronje made by Indian police during South Africas tour of India in February and March 2000.It had been planned that the hearings would resume following a visit by state advocate Shamila Batohi to India but her failure to gain the cooperation of the Indian authorities meant the commission was unable "to acquire the full context of the Indian tapes". His commission's investigation coincided with a worldwide probe into graft in cricket by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti corruption unit (ACU) head Sir Paul Condon.