Match-fixing allegations levelled against Silver Strikers and an Escom United player took a new twist on Thursday when local football powerhousesâ€”Mighty Wanderers and Big Bulletsâ€”said they will seek Anti-Corruption Bereauâ€™s (ACB) intervention having been dissatisfied with the outcome of the enquiry instituted by Sulom.
The enquiry set up by the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) concluded that there was no concrete evidence that Escom United defender Chipiliro Jose, Silver Strikers officials Owen Munthali and Martin Chibweya and the whistle-blower Dyson Mussa, were involved in match-fixing.
“Although there was evidence that the parties had been in contact and money amounting to K150 000 (about $600) was being mentioned in those discussions, there was no conclusive evidence that those contacts were meant for match-fixing (as alleged by Mr. Mussa) or for logistical expenses in relation to the possible transfer of Jose to Silver Strikers (as contended by Silver Strikers officials),” reads part of the report released by the commission which was headed by lawyer Benard Ndau.
The report further states that Mussa failed to prove how Jose was expected to “fix” the match.
“Nevertheless, it was the commissionâ€™s findings that the contacts between Mr. Munthali , Mr. Chibweya, Jose and Mr. Mussa were very improper, suspicious and unethical as they continued up to the day of the crucial league decider and even during the game itself.
“Such conduct could amount to misconduct or could bring the game of football into disrepute, which is prohibited under the constitution of Sulom,” reads the report which, however, recommends that some disciplinary action be taken against Jose, Chibweya and Munthali.
The commission of enquiry also recommends that Sulom should develop strict rules to prevent the unethical and improper contacts between players, officials and individuals masquerading as agents or playerâ€™s representatives.
But both Wanderers and Bullets have described the outcome of the enquiry as unsatisfactory, claiming it is contradictory.
Said Wanderers general secretary and legal adviser David Kanyenda: “You will note that the commission is contradicting itself because on one hand, it states that there was no concrete evidence that the alleged culprits were involved in match-fixing while on the other, the same report states that the contacts involving the alleged culprits were improper, suspicious and unethical.
“Our position, therefore, as an interested party is that the enquiry was incompetent to deal with the matters of evidence and it is, therefore, inconclusive. We will, therefore, be taking up the matter with the ACB [Anti-Corruption Bureau] for their perusal.”
Kanyenda also warned that the Nomads position remains that they will not take part in the league unless the issue is thoroughly investigated and concluded.
Bullets acting general secretary Higger Mkandawire also said his club will be seeking ACBâ€™s intervention.
“It does not make sense for the enquiry to say that there was no conclusive proof and then recommend punishment for those implicated on the basis that the conduct of the alleged culprits was suspicious.
“Obviously, we expect Sulom to take the issue further and make sure that justice is done. When Bullets or Wanderers are in the wrong, they rush to make decisions and we will follow how they handle this issue with keen interest. We will also seek ACBâ€™s intervention,” said Mkandawire.
Ndau could not be reached for his comment on Thursday, but Sulom president Innocent Bottomani said the issue has not yet been concluded as the flagship league governing bodyâ€™s executive committee is yet to discuss the enquiryâ€™s findings.
“I would, therefore, urge other stakeholders not to jump to conclusions. They should wait for our decision on the issue. However, we would like to thank members of the commission of enquiry for the job well done and further thank the officials for assisting the committee in their exercise,” said Bottomani.
Silverâ€™s board of trustees chairperson Kelvin Mâ€™mangisa said he could not comment on the issue because he had not yet received the commissionâ€™s report.
Apart from those that were implicated, others that appeared before the enquiry were Silver and Escomâ€™s chairpersons Dr. McDonald Mafuta-Mwale and Fanuel Nkhono respectively.