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Net tightens for corrupt match officials 20/06/04
Nine members of the group responsible for the organization of match-fixing in South African soccer have been arrested after dawn raids on Friday morning and will appear in court on Monday.

The early morning arrests were made in Gauteng, Limpopo, Free State, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, catching the guilty parties unaware.

More arrests are expected in the next few days.

Last Thursday warrants were issued for the arrest of 19 people involved in a match fixing cartel, which means that the remaining 10 members will be running scared, knowing that the police could be coming for them next.

The Sunday Times has revealed the names of six of the nine  referees who have been taken into custody : Patrick Banda, Michael Sikwe, Rueben Kgatle, Mzwandile Flatella, Lungile Dywili and Masithela Patrick Phandilwe.

Police investigations revealed that the group have been functioning as part of an organised crime syndicate, who even went as far as to fix the amount paid out to corrupt officials.

Match officials are reported to have received R10 000 to influence the outcome of a Premier Soccer League (PSL) game, between R9 000 and R18 000 for a First Division match and up to R40 000 to affect the result of a cup tie.

Corrupt officials have even purposely red-carded influential players to ensure that they miss vital matches through the two-match suspension they receive.

Referees who were part of the syndicate were also used to bribe other match officials who did not belong to the group.

Dumisani Ndlovu, the Hellenic owner who bought the club from the Hadjidakis family for about R5-million earlier in the season, despite the fact that the club was languishing at the foot of the table, has also been linked to the cartel.

Ndlovu is at present serving a three year suspension after he assaulted former Amazulu (Zulu Royals ) coach Ramadhan Nsanzurwimo last season.

The police would like to question him in connection with the intimidation of the referees who first brought the scandal to the attention of the police and the public.

The police have been investigating the matter since January when they embark on Operation Dribble, and have collected various forms of evidence since then.

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