Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has launched a crackdown on the corruption that has for years been reported in Rwandan football.
This comes after the investigation body confirmed the arrest of AS Muhanga goalkeeper Emile Mbarushimana who is in custody on allegations of soliciting bribes during the just-concluded topflight league campaign.
The shot stopper was arrested on Saturday, July 3, and is detained at Kicukiro RIB Station.
His arrest was confirmed by RIB’s spokesperson Dr. Thierry B. Murangira on Sunday, July 4.
AS Muhanga ended the league campaign without a single win and the club got relegated with two matches before the league concluded.
Defeats against Gasogi United, Sunrise FC, during which the Southern Province-based club lost 4-0 and 4-1 respectively, prompted many to question the results as the club was ‘fighting for nothing’ since it was already relegated.
And during the league group stages, Bugesera FC was three points adrift of Gorilla FC and needed a win against AS Muhanga by at least three goals to surpass Gorilla FC on the table by goal difference.
The result ended 4-0 in favor of Bugesera FC, a result that raised question marks about AS Muhanga who were already destined to play in the bottom eight league prior to the game.
During his interrogation, Mbarushimana confessed to have received the bribe and revealed more match fixing cases that happened during some topflight league fixtures.
“He pleads guilty. He confessed to have done so in his own capacity and added that match fixing happens elsewhere,” Murangira told Times Sport on Sunday, July 4.
Murangira said that the arrest of Mbarushimana signals the beginning of the investigations.
He said that the organ has so far received a number of complaints connected to corruption which prompted them to start an investigation in different football teams which are reportedly involved in match fixing and other corruption-related cases.
“This vice of match fixing and corruption has to be uprooted in Rwanda Football. those who solicit or give bribes in sports, mostly football, should not think that they are immune from the law. The law punishes every kind of corruption and punishes every one,” he warned.
“Football teams’ leaders and players should draw a lesson from this because RIB won’t tolerate such an illegal practice. Corruption has no place in Rwanda,” he added.
Similar corruption cases in football were reported from a number of fixtures throughout the league campaign with some related to refereeing decisions, betting on fixtures and players plotting to get head coaches sacked.
The corruption complaints that RIB is receiving so far are in football but Murangira said that there are some allegations in other sports disciplines.
What the law says
Murangira warned that people who try to normalize the practice of match fixing should keep in mind that it’s a crime punishable, hence legal action will be taken against them should they be found guilty.
The article states that any person who solicits, accepts or receives, by any means, an illegal benefit for himself/ herself or another person or accepts a promise in order to render or omit a service under his or her mandate or uses his or her position to render or omit a service commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of more than five (5) years but not more than seven (7) years with a fine of three (3) to five (5) times the value of the illegal benefit solicited.