Bangladesh news June 10, 2014

BPL tribunal terms ACSU investigations into league 'flawed'

The Bangladesh Premier League's anti-corruption tribunal has criticised the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit's decision to allow a tainted game to go ahead in order to firm up its evidence against the persons involved in corruption, and to not inform the BCB about the information it had gathered.

ESPNcricinfo has access to the tribunal's 59-page extended statement on the alleged corruption in the BPL, in which the tribunal has called the ACSU's investigations "flawed and incomplete", as well as stated that the BCB itself should have played a stronger, more vigilant role during the 2013 tournament.

The tribunal's statement establishing liability in the case forms the longer version of the verdict delivered on February 26 this year, and provides detailed reasons for the conclusions and orders emerging from the verdict. The essential finding of the tribunal was that "the process of investigation was flawed and incomplete to the extent that allegations of unfairness could be sustained".

The document states that "the concern of the tribunal remained throughout the hearing and questions were addressed to each one of the relevant witnesses as to how a sports regulator who was under an obligation to prevent corruption in sport would allow a corrupt match to take place".

The main match in question, one of four under investigation in the 2013 BPL, featured Dhaka Gladiators and Chittagong Kings. While it is now been confirmed that the Gladiators-Kings game was fixed, the anti-corruption tribunal states that the ACSU had prior knowledge of what was about to happen after being tipped off by a team member on the morning of the game.

The tribunal in its extended verdict states that team owner Shihab Chowdhury, declared guilty of corruption, had first approached a team member the day before the Gladiators-Kings match and offered him US$6,000. Chowdhury also asked for Mashrafe Mortaza to be replaced as captain by Mohammad Ashraful, and shared more details of how the match will be fixed.

The following morning, this information was conveyed to the ACSU officer on site, who asked the Gladiators member to cooperate with the ACSU and secretly record any future conversations with Chowdhury to help provide evidence which could be used to prove his direct involvement in fixing. A future conversation between Chowdhury and the team member was then recorded through a separate device set up by another ACSU officer. Once the conversation was complete, the information was relayed to the ACSU in Dubai.

The tribunal has questioned what happened from this point on. Going against its basic agreement with the BCB, the ACSU did not inform the Bangladesh board about the information it had received about the proposed fix. The tribunal also pointed out that the ACSU decided to allow the tainted match to go ahead.

The tribunal document states: "Although the focus of the service agreement [between ACSU and the BCB] and the code is on prevention of match-fixing and spot-fixing, the tribunal holds that this deliberate choice made by ACSU is unfortunate and wrong."

It states that by allowing the match to carry on the ACSU "has allowed the code to be breached, and from [this] breach corrupt people must have benefitted".

The tribunal has said the focus by the ACSU, in this case, "on gathering evidence and prosecution of offenders rather than on prevention of corruption cannot be accepted by the tribunal as the correct approach to fight corruption in sport".

The "methods of investigations" used by the ACSU officers were said to contain "deficiencies". There was a lack of "protocol or guidelines" with regard to interviewing witnesses and suspects. The tribunal also noted that "contemporaneous notes of interviews were not always made or disclosed at the hearing".

The report also states that during the tribunal's hearings in January, ACSU chairman Sir Ronnie Flanagan had "expressed his regrets" and made "a personal unreserved apology on behalf of the ACSU for not involving BCB at any stage". Other than Flanagan, only one other ACSU officer who was party to the information related about the Gladiators-Kings match was called up as a prosecution witness in the tribunal hearings.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84