13 September 2018

Rwanda: Football Officials Arrested in Bribery Scandal

Two Rwandan football officials have been arrested for allegedly offering a bribe to influence the outcome of a match.

The Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) on Thursday said it was holding the football federation (Ferwafa) Secretary-General Francois Regis Uwayezu and the Commissioner of Competitions Eric Ruhamiriza over allegations that they tried to bribe Jackson Pavaza, a Namibian referee who officiated the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on September 9 between Rwanda and Cote d'Ivoire at Stade de Kigali.

"We are questioning them. RIB has the mandate to investigate alleged crimes which have been brought to light, in the interest of the general public," RIB spokesperson Modeste Mbabazi told The EastAfrican.

Namibian media on Tuesday reported that Pavaza had communicated to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) that the officials tried to bribe him and other officials to manipulate the results in favour of the Rwandan national team Amavubi.

In an envelope

"The money was in an envelope. I did not try to count it or see how much it I was. I just told them that I do not accept any gifts from anyone, as per Caf regulations," Pavaza is quoted as saying.

Ferwafa has, however, denied the claims.

"We are shocked by the remarks made by Namibian Caf referee Jackson Pavaza claiming to have been bribed to manipulate the result of the 2019 Afcon qualifier between Rwanda and Cote d'Ivoire held on September 9, 2018 at Stade de Kigali," Ferwafa said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ferwafa explained that it only paid $247 for expenses incurred by Pavaza and three other match officials as per Afcon regulations.

To be fined

However, the referees claimed that there were other extra charges incurred on their flight to Kigali which needed to be reimbursed.

None of the other match officials have come forward to deny or confirm Pavaza's claims.

Caf was yet to comment on the matter.

If found guilty, Rwanda were likely to be fined or even disqualified from taking part in next year's Afcon to be hosted by Cameroon.

Amavubi lost the match 2-1 to Les Éléphants.

Rwanda were yet to win a match in Group H topped by Guinea.

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