Former Zimbabwe captain admits assault July 22, 2009

Taibu slapped with ten-match ban

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Extracts from the hearing findings
  • Tatenda Taibu, was found guilty by this Committee of misconduct. The position is worsened by the fact that the Respondent's defence is based on spurious allegations which are not worthy of belief at all. Assault, however minor, by an employee on another senior employee is a serious case of misconduct which ordinarily would attract dismissal from employment. This shows a lack of respect for authority and a negative attitude towards one's employer … he has however not shown any contrition for his behavior. If anything he has shown contempt for his superiors by making unsubstantial allegations.

    In view of the above and the fact we have alluded to that he is a young man with a bright future ahead of him, we find ourselves inclined to tamper justice with mercy and not recommend the ultimate penalty of dismissal which penalty is at our disposal. We therefore recommend to Management of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union that, the Respondent be suspended from participating in 10 ODI matches with immediate effect.

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Former Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu has been banned for ten matches after an internal Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) hearing found him guilty of an offence for which he had already been cleared in court. However, Cricinfo has learned that although a Harare court dismissed charges that Taibu had assaulted Esther Lupepe, Zimbabwe Cricket's general finance manager, at a travel agents last November, Taibu himself has admitted that the claims were in fact true and that he had lied to the magistrate.

"Soon after the incident occurred, I personally enquired why this had happened, and Tatenda confessed to me that he had assaulted Esther and did not know what had come over him," Ozias Bvute, ZC's chief executive told Cricinfo. "He further asked for me to intervene by arranging a meeting with Esther and her husband in order for him to apologise. I tried to arrange the meeting between the three parties but Esther and her husband were not prepared to meet with Tatenda."

In a letter to Bvute, Taibu wrote that he had gone to the travel agents to collect money owed to him to pay for an operation. "Lupepe … was non-sympathetic and due to the pressing scenario … did not take it kindly to this behaviour and unprofessional manner of the finance department, and thus reacted in the manner I did."

The matter went to court when Lupepe decided to file charges, but before the verdict was handed down, a three-man internal disciplinary hearing called by ZC found Taibu guilty.

"At the time we decided to wait for the court case to end before making the outcome of the internal hearing public," Bvute said. "Subsequently, I held a meeting with Tatenda advising him of the outcome of the internal hearing. I asked Tatenda why his lawyer had made all the allegations that he had made against ZC and most importantly why Tatenda had retracted his earlier statement where he had indicated that he had assaulted Esther.

"Tatenda's words were 'I did not intend to tell lies, I advised my lawyer what had happened and my lawyer said to me 'your job is to play cricket and my job is to defend you, therefore leave the rest to me'.' I enquired if he was comfortable about having lied to the courts and he indicated that he was not, but that given the position he was in, he had to defend himself to avoid prosecution."

A full ZC board meeting on June 23 discussed the situation and it was decided to proceed with the punishment handed down by the disciplinary hearing as it was "a true reflection of the process".

"For the record, ZC as an entity does not harbour any ill-feeling towards Tatenda," Bvute said. "He is a product of our development programme and we have supported his growth from when he was a school boy, we therefore have no desire to see him achieve any less than his full potential. It is however a premise that he and other players conduct themselves in a manner that is befitting of a national team player and in many cases role model. It is therefore important that discipline is an overriding principal that governs the relationship we have with our players.

"This is not the first time that Tatenda has been left off the national squad. He was not a member of the last squad which played against India and the decision was centred on discipline and form."

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa