Times of Swaziland
17 June 2008
Soccer players in elections scam
BY SIBUSISIWE NGOZO
MBABANE - Seven men, including four soccer players, are being investigated after they allegedly attempted to register in two different areas for the upcoming elections.
The seven allegedly first registered at Mhlume and a few days later tried to register at Simunye.
Four of them are soccer players of a local football team based at Mhlume.
According to a source close to the matter, the seven were caught after one of the clerks who knew them raised her suspicion about them.
The clerk wanted to know why they came from all the way to Simunye to register yet they reside at Mhlume. They could not give a clear explanation.
"It was upon further investigations that it was revealed that they had registered two times much against the laws," said the source. The names of the seven appeared in both registration books of Simunye and Mhlume centres, which was enough evidence that they had cheated.
The players and their friends were taken for questioning by the police on Sunday afternoon and were later released after they recorded statements.
The source said the seven alleged that they had been asked by one aspiring MP, to register again so they could vote for him. The names of the players and the aspiring MP are known to this newspaper, but will not be disclosed for now pending finalisation of police investigations into the matter. The players when questioned by the police allegedly confessed that they had registered two times after they were given food.
The men allege that the parliament hopeful promised them a party if they agreed to cheat in the registration so his chances of winning would be enhanced.
The source said the players allegedly said since it was off-season, they did not have much food so when they were offered food they jumped at the opportunity. When the police PRO, Superintendent Vusi Masuku, was contacted, he confirmed the matter. He said the Lubombo Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were still investigating after they received information that there were people who registered twice in Simunye and Mhlume.
"The voters’ cards of the seven men have been confiscated by the police and will form part of the exhibits," he said.
He went on to say that no arrests had been made pending investigation.
Masuku then advised members of the public to desist from corrupt and illegal practices that were in violation of the elections process.