MHA to strip former S-League player of Singapore citizenship for match fixing

Former S-league player Gaye Alassane is set to have his citizenship taken away for his involvement in a global match-fixing syndicate. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - A naturalised Singaporean who was part of a global match-fixing syndicate is set to have his citizenship taken away.

In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the 43-year-old, whom it did not name, was served with a Notice of Proposed Deprivation of Citizenship under Article 133(1) of the Constitution on Thursday (Dec 7).

The Straits Times understands that the man is former S-League player Gaye Alassane, who was born in Mali and played for Gombak United.

He was detained without trial in 2013 under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.

MHA said that Alassane obtained Singapore citizenship through the Family Ties Scheme in 2003, and that there was no information to suggest he was involved in any criminal activity then.

However, Alassane became an "active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate which was created in and took root in Singapore, MHA said.

The alleged mastermind of the syndicate, Dan Tan Seet Eng, is also being detained under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.

While a Singapore citizen, Alassane conspired with his syndicate members to fix football matches in various countries by corrupting officials and players, the ministry added.

Detailing Alassane's involvement, MHA said he travelled to these countries from Singapore to fix the matches.

"In addition, the individual entertained and cultivated relationships with foreign nationals in Singapore to draw them into his syndicate's match-fixing activities," MHA said.

It added that Alassane helped move bribe monies for his syndicate into Singapore. The MHA said he also remitted - and even personally couriered - these bribes out of the country to facilitate his syndicate's 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," it added, highlighting the seriousness of Alassane's actions and the detrimental impact they had on public safety, peace and good order in Singapore.

The ministry said the Constitution provides for the Government to deprive any Singapore citizen by registration or naturalisation of their citizenship.

MHA has previously deprived other Singaporeans of their citizenship for committing criminal acts prejudicial to the interests of Singapore's public safety, peace and good order, said the ministry.

"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," MHA said.

"Those who undertake activities that prejudice our security or public safety, peace and good order deserve to have their citizenship status deprived."

MHA said the Home Affairs Minister decided to take away Alassane's citizenship 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.

It added that Alassane can apply for his case to be referred to a Citizenship Committee of Inquiry within 21 days. The committee will then hold an inquiry and submit a report to the Minister for Home Affairs, who will consider it before deciding whether to proceed to deprive him of his Singapore citizenship.

It noted that Alassane will be rendered stateless if deprived of his Singapore citizenship.

He will have to stay in Singapore on a Special Pass granted by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, and cannot enjoy privileges accorded to Singapore citizens. In particular, he will not be allowed to apply for a Singapore passport, MHA said.

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