Former director of Zimbabwe Cricket banned for ten years
Enock Ikope, a former director of Zimbabwe cricket, has been banished from cricket in all forms for ten years. The ban comes after an investigation by ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit, which determined he had breached three counts of their code.
The breaches relate to an incident which occurred in October of 2017, in which former Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer was approached by a domestic cricket official, Rajan Nayer. The alleged approach occurred during a two Test series against West Indies played in Zimbabwe.
Nayer was handed a 20 year ban from cricket activities for his role in the incident, and during the investigation the ICC ascertained information which suggested Ikope had also played a role. The subsequent investigation gave them enough evidence to charge him, and the accumulation of the three penalties handed down for the three breaches resulted in a ten year ban. Ikope received a five year ban for three separate breaches, however two of them will be allowed to run at the same time, while the third will follow them.
The first of the charges related to a failure to provide accurate and complete information about an investigation, which occurred in January of 2018. In this incident, Ikope failed to give his mobile phone, as well as various documents, to the Anti-Corruption Unit when asked. A similar breach occurred in February, while deletion of data from his mobile phone also played a role in the outcome of the investigation.
Alex Marshall, General Manager of the Anti-Corruption Unit, highlighted the importance of punishing 'non-cooperation and obstruction of our investigation' following the handing down of the punishment.
Marshall and his ACU have certainly had a big few months and years. Corruption in cricket has long been a problem, but the depth and severity of it has been becoming increasingly apparent in recent times. Whether this is a result of an actual increase in corruption, or a product of more substantial and effective investigations by the ACU is something to speculate on, but regardless it is a major issue in world cricket.
As a result, the ACU is taking a hardline on individuals who contribute to the obstruction of their investigations, even if there is no evidence of their actual involvement in corrupt practices. Most likely, those who do obstruct these investigations are doing so for a reason, and probably have something to hide. Regardless of whether this is the case, however, they are preventing the ACU from attempting to eradicate what is without a doubt the biggest problem facing world cricket at the moment, and hefty punishments are difficult to argue with.