New Delhi: Match-fixing is back to haunt cricket. In what appears to be the toughest week for the game since the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting and spot-fixing scandal of 2013, two cricketers—one former and one current—were suspended and probed for alleged corrupt practices in South Africa and Hong Kong.

On Thursday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed that Gulam Bodi, a former limited-overs cricketer for the country, had been charged under its anti-corruption code.

Bodi’s suspension came after the ICC, on Monday, charged and provisionally suspended Hong Kong cricketer Irfan Ahmed for failing to report an alleged fixing approach by former Pakistani cricketer Nasem Gulzar.

“Following our investigations and due process, we have reached a point that Bodi is the intermediary who was charged by CSA in early December 2015 under the CSA Anti-Corruption Code," a media statement quoted Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of CSA, as saying.

The incident first came to light in December, when CSA said that it had charged “a perpetrator, operating as an intermediary", with “contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects" of South Africa’s domestic Twenty20 tournament, the ‘2015 Ram Slam T20 Challenge’.

Lorgat added that Bodi was cooperating with the CSA anti-corruption officials. “We now await his response to the charges and the matter will take its course in accordance with the process outlined in the Code."

Bodi’s suspension under Article 4.7.1 of the Code means that he “may not be involved in any capacity in any match or any other kind of function, event or activity (other than organised anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programmes) that are authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported by CSA, the International Cricket Council (ICC), a national cricket federation or any member of a national cricket federation".

A news report on the cricket website ESPNCricinfo said that should the case reach the police, it would be investigated by a “specialised unit which works on organised crime and corruption" known as The Hawks.

Following the match-fixing scandal involving former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje, the country’s parliament passed the “Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Law" in 2004, which also has a provision for sport-related corruption, called the ‘Hansie clause’.

The report added that in case of a conviction, “the penalties include a fine and imprisonment, with a maximum punishment of a life sentence if the case is heard in a high court".

In the case of the Hong Kong cricketer, Gulzar had “struck up a close bond with Ahmed" and was “believed to have nurtured Ahmed while playing local cricket" in Hong Kong, The Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The newspaper also quoted Ahmed’s lawyer Kevin Egan as saying, “(The former cricketer) was like a father figure to him and (Ahmed) was approached with a corrupt offer which he rejected. But the only criminality alleged against him by the ICC was simply having failed to report that approach. At the moment we’re in negotiations with the ICC and those negotiations have not yet concluded. I expect that within the next couple of weeks we will have come to a conclusion."

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