Maurice Odumbe banned for five years

Published: Wednesday, August 18, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Nairobi:Kenyan cricketer Maurice Odumbe has been found guilty of taking bribes from an Indian bookmaker and banned for five years, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced.

The suspension follows last month's hearing into the affair by the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit conducted by former Zimbabwean Supreme Court judge Ahmed Ebrahim.

In his report, part of which was published by the ICC on Tuesday, Judge Ebrahim said of the former Kenya captain: "Mr Odumbe has shown himself to be dishonest and devious in his behaviour in relation to the game of cricket.

"He has been callous and greedy in the way he has conducted himself.

"There is no suggestion that he was in desperate straits and in dire need of money because of some serious difficulty which may have befallen him. The evidence, if anything, shows him living a lifestyle of pleasure and irresponsibility."

"The ban starts with immediate effect," Kenya Cricket Association (KCA) chairman Sharad Ghai confirmed at a press conference in Nairobi.

Odumbe, who said he was "shocked and surprised" by the ruling, plans to appeal against the ruling.

At the same press conference, his lawyer Ishan Kapila insisted: "We shall fight this, we shall fight it to the end...and if there is any justice, we will win."

Odumbe added: "Obviously, I am shocked and surprised and you know, in a way, it was expected, but life has to go on, but as my lawyer (Ishan) Kapila said he shall fight it to the end and we are not just going to let this thing go on like that."

"This decision is unfair and ridiculous and a breach of the national justice. We'll appeal to every available forum," Kapila explained.

The ICC's statement, confirming the sanction, said: "The International Cricket Council (ICC) today (Wednesday) confirmed that it had received a copy of the Ebrahim Report which recommends a five year ban for former Kenyan captain, Maurice Odumbe after a hearing into charges that he had received money, benefit or other reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute.

"The recommendation has subsequently been implemented by the Kenyan Cricket Association (KCA), a decision supported by ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed."

Speed said the Ebrahim Report made sobering reading "for everyone in the game".

"It highlights that the risk of corruption remains very real and everyone must be alert to the dangers," the cricket chief warned.

"Far from taking heed of the warnings of the dire consequences which would follow such behaviour that the ICC has spread across the cricket world, through such organizations as the anti-corruption and security unit, cricket referees, etcetera, Mr Odumbe chose to thumb his nose at all these warnings and continued his dishonest ways.

"Mr Odumbe has exhibited no remorse. He has not indicated any intention to mend his ways. Instead he has chosen to cast doubts on the honesty and integrity of people who have despaired of his behaviour.

"In my view, a five year ban would meet the justice of the case and I so recommend."

Odumbe was found guilty on 12 counts of corruption including accepting 12,000 dollars from a known bookmaker in June 2002, and receiving 5,000 dollars for fixing a match in Zimbabwe.

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