Match fixer stripped of S’pore citizenship

This article is more than 12 months old

Former S.League player Gaye Alassane was detained for two years, says MHA

A naturalised Singaporean, who was part of a global match-fixing ring, is set to be stripped of his citizenship for his criminal activities in the first such case in three decades.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the 43-year-old, whom it did not name, was yesterday served with a notice informing him of this.

The Straits Times understands he is former S.League player Gaye Alassane, who was born in Mali and spent one season with Gombak United.

He was detained without trial in 2013 under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act for about two years, and is now under supervision by the police.

Under the Constitution, the Government can deprive naturalised Singaporeans of their citizenship for reasons that include showing disloyalty to the country or engaging in criminal activities that place at risk public safety, peace or good order.

Singaporeans by birth cannot be deprived of their citizenship for such reasons.

They can be stripped of it if they acquire a foreign passport as Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. This can also happen if they are 18 or older and have stayed abroad for a continuous 10-year period in which they were not, for instance, working for the Government.

MHA said yesterday: "Singapore citizenship comes with privileges and benefits, as well as duties and obligations. Individuals who have been granted citizenship should cherish it and not act contrary to national interests. Those who undertake activities that prejudice our security or public safety, peace and good order deserve to have their citizenship status deprived."

The last such case was in 1987, when a naturalised Singaporean was stripped of his citizenship after committing offences that included drug trafficking.

MHA declined to give the total number of such cases.

In Alassane's case, the Home Affairs Minister decided on this course of action after considering the nature and operations of his global match-fixing syndicate, the extent of his involvement in it, the severity of his criminal activities, and the public interest, said MHA.

Alassane told The Straits Times yesterday: "Yes, I did those things, but everybody make mistakes, no? I thought I paid for mine already. I don't know what to say now."

He can apply within 21 days for his case to be referred to a three-member Citizenship Committee of Inquiry, which, according to the Constitution, must be chaired by a "person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court".

The committee will then submit a report to the Minister for Home Affairs, who will decide on the matter.

If Alassane is stripped of his citizenship, he will be rendered stateless. He will have to stay in Singapore on a Special Pass and cannot enjoy privileges accorded to Singapore citizens.

Alassane married a Singaporean and obtained his citizenship in 2003 under the Family Ties Scheme. There was no information to suggest he was involved in any criminal activity at the time, said MHA.

He later became an "active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate in Singapore and conspired to fix football matches in various countries, said MHA.

It added that Alassane helped move bribe monies for his syndicate into Singapore, and also remitted - and even personally couriered - these bribes out of the country to facilitate match-fixing activities.

Alassane's serious criminal conduct undermined not only the integrity of Singapore's financial system, but also law and order, MHA said.

"Witnesses were afraid of testifying against the individual and his syndicate members in open court for fear of reprisal."

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