Match Fixing Sweeping Kenyan Sports As Former Harambee Stars Defender is Accussed
Footbal Kenya Federation (FKF) president, Nick Mwendwa has said they will investigate alegations of match fixing involving former Harambee Stars defender George Owino.
Reacting to media reporting citing a Fifa report, Mwendwa said the federation will take all legal procedures to ensure that the truth is found and the culprits involved are brought to justice. He, however, said they are yet to be furnished with the report.
“We assure you that all legal procedures will be adhered to accordingly to ensure that the truth is found and the culprits are brought to book,” he said , “We need to understand that match fixing is a complex procedure and the fact that emails were exchanged or money exchanged may not tell it all. Instead, we will have to follow through on the outcome of the actual match, the role of the said player and his actions on the field,” he told a local radio station from France where he is scouting for a training camp venue for the national team.
Owino, famously known as Audi, is said to have earned millions between June 2009 and 2011 allegedly fixing Harambee Stars matches.
This comes a few days after Kakamega Homeboyz owner, Cleophas Shimanyula, fired coach Paul Nkata on claims that he was involved in match fixing. Shimanyula went ahead to mention some other clubs in Kenya’s top flight league that may also be involved in the vice.
According to a preliminary investigation report quoted by a local newspaper, Fifa has established a case against the defender for potentially committing breaches of the world football governing body’s Code of Ethics between June 2009 and 2011. In their investigations, Fifa reportedly found 177 email messages between Owino and an international match fixer by the name Wilson Raj Perumal where the two conspired to influence and manipulate results of Harambee Stars matches.
The report by FIFA suggests that Owino alongside other Harambee Stars players were receiving money in the region of Ksh. 3 million per month from Perumal. Perumal, who has also served a jail term due to match fixing, was telling the players on how he wanted the outcome of the game to be and would pay the players after the match if his wish was granted.
Perumal had even planned to take Owino to an unkown Australian club where they would continue manipulating matches. “I have an offer for you to play in Australia,” read Perumal’s proposal to Owino on March 25, 2010. “You’ve to stay quiet about this. The league starts in August and I will sign you up in June 2010. Stay away from other clubs.”
Owino replied saying he was ready to do so. “Yes, the one you said is in Australia and hope is good for the business,” read Owino’s email in reply.
“The purpose I’m going to bring you there is for business, but you have to remain loyal to me only. Remain free. Salary each month is $30,000 (Sh3 million). If I say lose, you do as I say, or else you won’t see your salary,” Perumal further expounded to be sure that Owino would be in on the deal. Owino then replied stating that he was ready and was looking for a good life for his family.
Among the matches reported to be fixed is the 2010 Fifa World Cup qualifier between Kenya and Tunisia, played on October 11, 2009. “Note that if you lose by 1-0 to Tunisia you will end up with nothing. I want a 3-0 score line. I expect the score to be 2-0 in a normal game, but with your assistance I can get a 3-0 scoreline,” Perumal emailed Owino before the match. It however appears that Owino did not receive payment for this match as Kenya lost 1-0 to Tunisia.
Perumal then approached Owino telling him to help manipulate fixtures of the Nile Basin Tournament in Egypt in 2011.
He offered Ksh 6 million for Harambee Stars to lose all its matches in the tourney. Owino however was not in the national team for the toirnament but promised Perumal that he would get him players to help manipulate the fixtures and earn a commission.
“Give me the name of a player I can trust and make things work. I will send my guys there,” Perumal demanded. Owino gave the name of a defender.
When reached for comment, Owino claimed he is not aware of the allegations. “If there is anything like that, let us wait for relevant authorities to do their investigations. I cannot comment anything for now” he told GameYetu.