The King Commission Interim Report
present the Interim Report of this Commission.
Signed at CAPE TOWN on 11 August 2000
1. The Commission was established by the President in terms of Section 84(2)(f) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, (Act No 108 of 1996) as a Commission of Inquiry into Cricket Match Fixing and Related Matters.
2. The Terms of Reference of the Commission and the Regulations governing the proceedings were published in Proclamation R26 of 2000 in Government Gazette No 21153 (Regulation Gazette No 6801) dated 8 May 2000. The regulations were declared applicable to the Commission by direction of the President under the powers vested in him by Section 1 of the Commissions Act, No 8 of 1947.
3. By virtue of Paragraph D of the Terms of Reference the Commission is required immediately to conduct a preliminary investigation in relation to the matters referred to in Paragraphs A1, 2 and 3 of the Terms of Reference and to publish an Interim Report thereon by not later than 30 June 2000. The President subsequently extended this deadline to 11 August 2000.
4. The Terms of Reference requiring preliminary investigation are
A.1. The disclosures made by the former South African cricket captain, Hansie Cronjé, that during the Triangular Tournament between South Africa, England and Zimbabwe in January and February 2000, he received payment of approximately $10,000-00 from a bookmaker and, in particular -
1. the identity of the person from whom he received such payment;
2. the intended purpose of the payment;
3. the persons who were aware of such payment;
4. any decisions, actions or omissions by him or anybody else as a result of such payment; and
5. any other matters related or incidental to the receipt of such payment.
A.2. Whether during the period 1 November 1999 - 17 April 2000, and excluding the matters referred to in paragraph 1, any member of the South African cricket team or team official received or was promised payment of any amount of money or other benefit (excluding salary, emoluments, sponsorship and other payments or benefits lawfully connected therewith) in relation to his or her functions as a member of the South African cricket team or as a team official and, if so,
1. from whom such payment was received or promised;
2. the intended purpose of such payment or promise;
3. the persons who were aware of such payment or promise;
4. whether any decision, action or omission by the recipient or anyone else in consequence of such payment or promise occurred; and
5. any other matters related or incidental to the receipt of such payment or promise.
A.3. Whether a proposal was made to the South African cricket team during its tour to India in 1996 that it forfeit or otherwise influence the result of a cricket match and if so, -
1. by whom the proposal was made;
2. to whom the proposal was made;
3. the terms of the proposal;
4. who was aware of the proposal;
5. any decisions, actions or omissions by any person as a result of such proposal; and
6. any other matters related or incidental to such proposal.
5. All references to dollars in this report are to United States Dollars.
6. The events which have led to the appointment of the Commission commenced with the receipt by Bronwyn Wilkinson, Communications Manager of the United Cricket Board of South Africa ("the UCB"), during the morning of 7 April 2000 from a journalist in England, of information that a story was being circulated by a press agency that the police in Delhi had held a press conference and alleged that Hansie Cronjé, at the time captain of the national side and three (3) other South African players were involved in match fixing. The other players were shortly thereafter identified as Gibbs, Bojé and Strydom.
7. That same morning Ms Wilkinson conveyed the information to Dr Aron "Ali" Bacher, Managing Director of the UCB. Bacher and Wilkinson contacted Cronjé telephonically. He denied the allegations immediately and emphatically, describing them as "absolute rubbish". On the strength of this disavowal Wilkinson released the following press statement (on 7 April 2000):
"The United Cricket Board of South Africa is certain that no South African cricket player has ever been involved in match fixing.
UCBSA managing director Dr Ali Bacher has spoken to South African captain Hansie Cronjé, who is adamant that the allegations contained in press reports in India are completely untrue. Cronjé is known for his unquestionable integrity and honesty.
Released by Bronwyn Wilkinson Communications Manager"
8. Both Gibbs and Bojé confirmed to Bacher that they had not been involved in match fixing. Strydom telephoned Bacher later that day to the same effect.
9. As a consequence a further press statement was issued also on 7 April 2000. It reads:
"April 7 2000
South African captain Hansie Cronjé is a man of enormous integrity and honesty. He and his team-mates Nicky Bojé, Herschelle Gibbs and Pieter Strydom are emphatic that there is no substance to allegations that they were involved in match fixing during the One-Day International series in India. The UCBSA believes that these players have not been involved in the practice of match fixing.
The UCBSA and the players concerned have had no contact from police in India and learnt about the allegations through media reports.
Hansie Cronjé said: "I have been informed by the UCB of the statements that have been made in the media and I am stunned. The allegations are completely without substance. I have been privileged to play for South Africa since 1992 and I want to ensure every South African that I have made a hundred percent effort to win every match that I have played. It has been an honour to play for South Africa and I would never do anything to let my country down."
Bronwyn Wilkinson Communications Manager"
10. On 8 April 2000, Bacher was in contact with various officials and journalists, assuring them of Cronjé's innocence of the charges levelled at him.
11. On 9 April 2000 a press conference was scheduled for 19h00. Prior to that Bacher, Wilkinson, Goolam Rajah manager of the South African cricket team, Clifford Green the UCB attorney, Cronjé, Gibbs and Bojé met, in preparation for the press conference, which was to be held in Durban where the team had assembled prior to the playing of the 1st of 3 One-Day Internationals ("ODIs") against Australia on 12 April 2000.
12. During this discussion Cronjé asserted that he had never been involved in throwing a match; anyone could look at his bank account to see if he had received any money and he had never approached any player to throw a game. Gibbs and Bojé denied any involvement. At the conference, according to Bacher, Cronjé essentially repeated what he had said at the meeting.
13. On 10 April 2000, Bacher and the then acting President of the UCB, Adv. Percy Sonn were visiting a game park in the company of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Cricket Board, Mr Denis Rogers and Mr Malcolm Speed.
14. At 03h00 on 11 April 2000, Bacher received a telephone call from Rajah who put Cronjé on the line. He told Bacher that he, Cronjé had not been honest with him; he admitted that he had taken money from a bookmaker, Sanjay, an amount of between $10,000 - $15,000. Cronjé also confirmed what the newspapers were saying; namely that Sanjay had been staying in the same hotel as the players during the ODI at Cochin, India.
15. Bacher contacted Sonn and they agreed to:
16. At 06h00 that day Bacher received from Rajah a fax of Cronjé's written statement which deals with Cronjé's relationship with Sanjay and Hamid Cassim, who had acted as intermediary between the two.
17. The circumstances surrounding the preparation of this statement are detailed by Cronjé himself and by Rory Steyn.
18. Rory Steyn is a security consultant in the service of the UCB. He accompanied the South African team to Durban on 9 April 2000. He was concerned with the security of the Australian team (which was to play South Africa at Durban on 12 April 2000).
19. At about 02h00 on 11 April 2000 he received a call from Cronjé requesting him to come up to Cronjé's room. There he found Cronjé packed and ready to leave. He handed Steyn a hand written, signed statement.
20. When Steyn entered Cronjé's room he found him "incredibly calm, wide awake, lucid"; later on he became very emotional and at times was in tears. Cronjé commenced by saying that "these lies cannot go on anymore" or words to that effect. He told Steyn that some of what had been reported in the media was true.
21. The media had reported excerpts of transcripts of taped mobile phone conversations in the possession of the Indian Police. Cronjé confirmed to Steyn that the conversations, of which the excerpts had been published, had taken place.
22. Steyn described Cronjé as "clear and adamant" in what he was trying to convey, and he was very lucid with regard to the enormity of what he was saying and what he was achieving by doing so i.e. coming clean.
23. The statement which was written in the form of a letter and was prepared by Cronjé in the small hours of the morning of 11 April 2000 when, Cronjé emphasised, he was in a highly emotional state, includes the following passages:
"It has been a tough weekend, but also a great weekend for me, in that I now have the opportunity to face myself in the mirror again for the first time since the Indian tour.
It started after the 5th test against England, the day before the first ODI against Zimbabwe at Wanderers. On my way to the nets, I was stopped by Hamied, a bloke whose been hanging around the team for a few years now, always handing out biltong for the guys in return for some tickets.
He told me that if only he knew I was going to declare, he could have made himself some good money, and my reply was, "Why don't you ask?"
He later introduced me to a friend, called Sanjay, during the ODI-series with England and Zimbabwe. Together they told me that I could also make some cash, if we could maybe loose a match. I told them that I was not prepared to do it, unless we were assured of a place in the final. Off-course we only narrowly got through to the final and the opportunity never came. I had in my possession at that stage US$10 - $15,000 that Sanjay gave me, just in case I had a change of mind.
I told him that maybe the first ODI in India, I could see what could be done, thinking that if we could get the match out of the way, I would get rid of them and could then focus purely on cricket. My idea was never to involve other players, but merely forecast which way the match was going to go, looking at the pitch and conditions. He was adamant that it could not be done alone, so I suggested that I would speak to some of the players, lying to him to get rid of them after the first match.
I would like to make it absolutely clear, that I never spoke to any member of the SA team, whether player or management, about this. I lied to him by saying certain players were involved, where in fact I had never spoken to any of them. I couldn't face asking them to do it. I can't recall all the names that I mentioned, and I can't remember the figures that were mentioned.
I ignored him the night before the match, but then early the next morning Hamied phoned me again and urged me to go ahead with the plan. I phoned him up and suggested we go for it. All this time I had in the back of my mind, pride to play for SA and my team-mates, whom I all respect. It was a difficult period for me before the match, and I then decided I won't not try. I'll give it my best shot and see what happens. (In his evidence on this point Cronjé said Cassim phoned him urging him to phone Sanjay.)
As it happened we got 301 for 3, I got 19 off 20 balls and India knocked it off quite comfortably after Hayward got injured. I can honestly say that I tried to win the match, even at that stage. When I got back to the hotel, Sanjay was upset because we got too many runs, and I blamed the Indian keeper for three chances that he missed, obviously not saying that those players were never involved. I did not accept any money for that match.
Hamied kept phoning me and saying that they were now worse off than before and I said the players are angry with me for not getting their money. He said not to worry, he'll make up for it during the series.
For the next 3 matches I was really only forecasting what I thought would happen, as I really wanted to win the series. I mentioned some names again, and quoted some figures again, none of which I can even remember, simply as a lie. Once again I want to make it clear that I never spoke to any player about this at all.
Before the final match, I said that we'll go for this one as Pollock, Kallis and Hayward were injured and again mentioned some names, none of which was true. I never approached any players their (sic) either. The match went well for us and we won quite comfortably in a high scoring match. I got 39 off 31 balls and tried my best, even though I said I wouldn't.
That was the last I spoke to him and I told Hamied not to bother me anymore. In Dubai he called me a few times, fishing around and trying to get some tickets, which I organized, but nothing was done after again. I went through the Sharjah-Cup giving 100% and was obviously disappointed at not playing in the fourth match, thus ending my long run of consecutive matches for SA."
(the "Hamid" referred to is Cassim)
24. Wilkinson testified that she telephoned Cronjé on the morning of 7 April 2000 and told him of the reports that he had been "charged" with match fixing by the Indian Police. According to Wilkinson, Cronjé snorted ("a kind of snort-laugh") and asked her if she knew anything else; she said not and Cronjé asked her to let him know if she found out anything else.
25. Wilkinson confirmed the release of the press reports and meetings adverted to by Bacher.
26. Wilkinson was also in contact with the Indian Police who informed her that the players concerned had been charged with "cheating, fraud and criminal conspiracy"; this had been announced at a Press conference, so Wilkinson was told.
27. Wilkinson was in constant contact with Cronjé that day. Initially he did not convey to her that he had knowledge relating to the events. During the course of the day Wilkinson received the transcript of portion of the tapes referred to in evidence before the Commission; she questioned Cronjé on them. Cronjé said he did not know Sanjay. He said that there was nothing in the story that money had been paid into his London bank account. Referring to the 2nd Press statement, Wilkinson confirmed that she read the full statement to Cronjé who approved it, including his quoted words which, Wilkinson testified, she and Cronjé worked out together.
28. Wilkinson recalled that at the Press conference on 9 April 2000, Gibbs and Bojé both denied any involvement. She also noticed that when Cronjé said that he had nothing to hide and invited the Police to check his bank "account", he used the singular which struck her because he had previously told her of his bank account in England and she assumed that he also had one in South Africa.
29. Cronjé had also indicated that the Police could ask the other players if he had ever approached them and immediately after the press conference he said to Wilkinson, "Bronwyn please just make sure that everyone knows I never spoke to another player."
30. Wilkinson testified that Rory Steyn had told her that Cronjé had told him that "everything that was in the transcripts was true but, that what was not there was him telling Sanjay to get lost and leave him alone."