Last week this paper exclusively revealed how one Wilson Raj Perumal — an Asian businessman who has previously been jailed for match-fixing and who acknowledged “knowing” suspended Zifa chief executive Henrieta Rushwaya — allegedly tried to approach Malawian football consultant Felix Sapao in a bid to also get his home country involved in the match-fixing patterns.
The allegations were contained in a leaked email written by Sapao to Fifa and Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials.
Immediately after the publication of the story, Raj Perumal released a public statement exonerating Rushwaya.
Raj Perumal said: “Please note that I work for a sports organisation in Singapore. We organise international friendly matches and tournaments around the world.
“We do not do match-fixing and allegations without substance must be discarded. I know Ms Rushwaya and she has never engaged herself in such negative activities.”
Raj Perumal was not reachable at the time of going to press.
But a player who toured with the team on more than one occasion claimed that “a substantial amount of money was paid to players, referees and others”.
He said at first only players in key positions, like goalkeepers and strikers, were approached for betting purposes.
“A striker would be paid not to score, and a goalkeeper would be paid to concede a certain number of goals,” said the senior player, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
If they “let down” the bookmakers, the paid players would be hounded by the “loan sharks”, said the source.
He added: “Later on, more and more players got involved to an extent that it became common knowledge in the dressing room that games were being thrown. Although it wouldn’t come across as a team thing, the guys would not talk openly about it, but the players’ body language said ‘we are in this together’.”
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that Raj Perumal- who is a serial offender- has previously served a jail sentence in his home country for match-fixing.
Raj Perumal- who works for a Singapore-based company called Events and Projects Executive- was jailed 12 months in Singapore in 1995 for match-fixing.
And according to latest reports, Raj Perumal is said to be on the run in Singapore after he was jailed earlier this year for five years’ corrective training for hurling himself against an auxiliary police officer and then injuring the officer by hitting him as he drove off in his car.
A warrant of arrest was issued after he failed to appear in court last month. Raj Perumal was out on US$80 000 bail.
Corrective training, which can last five to 14 years, is a sentence for repeat offenders like Raj Perumal. On July 13 this year, Singapore’s Straits Times reported that Raj Perumal had a string of 13 convictions for house-breaking, theft, cheating, forgery and match-fixing.