Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya banned from all cricket-related activities by the ICC for two years after admitting breaching two counts of ICC's Anti-Corruption Code. Jayasuriya had earlier refused to cooperate with the ACU last year by denying to hand over his phone and thus was, immediately, charged with two offences under Article 2.4.6 and 2.4.7 of the anti-corruption code.
The former Sri Lanka Cricket Chair of Selectors, admitted to being in breach of the following provisions of the Code:
Article 2.4.6 – Failure or refusal, without compelling justification, to cooperate with any investigation carried out by the ACU, including failure to provide accurately and completely any information and/or documentation requested by the ACU as part of such investigation.
Article 2.4.7 – Obstructing or delaying any investigation that may be carried out by the ACU, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information that may be relevant to that investigation and/or that may be evidence or may lead to the discovery of evidence of corrupt conduct under the Anti-Corruption Code.
"As a result of the admissions, he has accepted a sanction of a two-year period of ineligibility," the ICC stated.
However, he wasn't given the maximum punishment of five years for his breach after the world body took his "previous good conduct" into account. Jayasuriya's sanction will be a backdated one starting from 16 October, 2018
Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – ACU said: “This conviction under the Code demonstrates the importance of participants in cricket cooperating with investigations. Compelling participants to cooperate under the Code is a vital weapon in our efforts to rid our sport of corruptors. These rules are essential to maintain the integrity of our sport.
After being charged, Jayasuriya released a statement saying the charges didn't have anything to do with match-fixing, pitch-fixing or any corrupt activity. However, the 49-year-old has now admitted to have made a breach, following which he accepted the quantum of the punishment.
Message to my fan... pic.twitter.com/YFeCR4opEs
— Sanath Jayasuriya (@Sanath07) February 26, 2019
"It is unfortunate that even though I provided the ICC ACU with all the information as demanded by the officials the ICC ACU thought it fit to charge me under the Code although there were no allegations of corruption, betting or misuse of inside information," Jayasuriya issued a statement after ICC imposed the sanctions.
The conviction of Mr Jayasuriya is the latest part of a much broader ICC ACU investigation into corruption in cricket in Sri Lanka. The ACU recently held an amnesty in relation to Sri Lankan Cricket resulting in eleven players and other participants coming forward with new information, ICC stated in a statement.
Marshall instructed the ACU team to "demand" the two mobile phones.
Accordingly, Jayasuriya was investigated by the ICC ACU unit on three specific dates – 22, 23 September and 5 October in 2017.
As per the copy of the judgement, the ACU team had specifically asked "Jayasuriya to give details of all mobile phones that he owned, used or had access to".
On 22 September, 2017, Jayasuriya informed the investigators that he had two mobile devices.
However the prolific batsman of yesteryears then changed his statement on the very next day (September 23, 2017) and divulged that he had two more mobile phones which got lost between 15 to 23/24 May , 2017. These two numbers had last digits of '888' and '088'.
He told the ACU officials that those two numbers were not in use.
However, Jayasuriya had no inkling that the "investigators called up on the numbers with last digits '888' and the phone rang contrary to his statement."
But on the second occasion when ICC officials tried, there was an automated response.
On 5 October, when Jayasuriya was represented by his legal counsel, the player said that he had destroyed the earlier phone after a private video went viral and he was "under stress".
But according to his lawyer, it was his driver, who retrieved the sim card and put it in another phone. It was later handed over to Jayasuriya, who then used that earlier '888' sim to check text messages.
The ACU unit had proof that between 15 March 2017 and 14 September 2017, hundreds of calls and text messages were recorded on the number ending with '888' which proved that the cricketer was lying.
Once his lawyer admitted that Jayasuriya had misled the investigation, he was charged with relevant sections 2.4.6 and 2.4.7 respectively.
When asked why he admitted to the charges of having destroyed the evidence as claimed by the ICC, he said: "I accepted the charges for the greater good and to protect the integrity of cricket"
"I have always put country first and the cricket loving public are the best witnesses to this aspect. I profusely thank the public of Sri Lanka and my fans for having stood by me during this difficult period".
The ACU recently gave an amnesty in relation to Sri Lanka Cricket resulting in 11 players and other participants coming forward with new information.
Marshall added: “The amnesty has worked very well and has delivered significant new and important intelligence. This new information has assisted a number of our ongoing investigations and has resulted in some new investigations getting underway.
“I am very grateful to those who participated in the amnesty and as a result of the information shared we now have a much clearer picture of the situation in Sri Lanka and our investigations are continuing.”
With inputs from PTI and ICC
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