Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

Mohammed Naveed enlists lawyer who represented Ajay Jadeja as he prepares defence against corruption charges

Naveed, the former UAE captain, was charged last October with two counts of breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code

Former UAE captain Mohammed Naveed has been suspended indefinitely while he faces two counts of breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code. Antonie Robertson / The National
Former UAE captain Mohammed Naveed has been suspended indefinitely while he faces two counts of breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code. Antonie Robertson / The National

Mohammed Naveed has engaged the services of a lawyer who had previous experience in the Ajay Jadeja case, in the match-fixing scandal that engulfed cricket at the turn of the century, as he prepares his defence against corruption charges.

Naveed, the former UAE captain, was charged last October with two counts of breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code.

Along with fellow national team players Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmed, he was suspended from playing indefinitely.

The ICC are due to submit their case on April 9. The charges against Naveed relate to “contriving, or being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches” at last year’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

He is also charged with “failing to disclose to the [ICC anti-corruption unit] full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in conduct” at that tournament which would “amount to corrupt conduct”.

The fast bowler also faces similar charges for breaching the Emirates Cricket Board’s code of conduct, in relation to the Abu Dhabi T10 which followed the T20 World Cup Qualifier. The ICC were also the designated anti-corruption officials for the T10 league.

Immediately after being charged, Naveed said he had made a mistake in not reporting an approach made to him.

“It is my mistake and I feel guilty,” Naveed told The National last October.

“My family is let down, my friends are let down. Everybody is let down. This was my mistake.”

Now he has hired the services of Ibrahim Al Banna Advocates & Legal Consultants in Dubai.

The law firm includes Santanu Ghosh, a lawyer who worked on the case of Jadeja, the former India batsman.

As part of the corruption crisis in which Mohammed Azharuddin was given a lifetime ban, Jadeja was suspended from the sport for five years for his part in match-fixing.

Jadeja subsequently had that sanction quashed, at the Delhi High Court in 2003.

“That case was different to this one,” said Ghosh. “The law which they are now following is that if someone approaches a cricket player, even if the cricket player does not do anything, they still have to inform ICC about what has happened.

“If they don’t tell them that, then it is a punishable offence.

"The question is whether they have informed or not, and that itself can put in place a minimum ban of six months.”

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UAE cricket in crisis: timeline of a chaotic few weeks

UAE bowler Qadeer Ahmed in action against Ireland in Dubai last year. Pawan Singh/The National
UAE bowler Qadeer Ahmed in action against Ireland in Dubai last year. Pawan Singh/The National

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By the time the tribunal takes place, it will have been almost exactly six months since Naveed was suspended.

It is understood he has turned down an agreed sanction of five years. He could face between eight to 10 years if found guilty.

By contrast to his former captain, Qadeer says he will prepare his own defence against the charges against him, as he cannot afford a lawyer.

The fast bowler was charged with six breaches of the ICC code. They related to failing to disclose approaches related to series for the UAE in Zimbabwe and Netherlands last year, as well as obstruction the investigation.

Qadeer returned to Pakistan immediately after being charged.

Last week he opened a shop selling milk in his home city of Rawalpindi, as he plans for a life away from cricket.

“I didn’t do anything corrupt in my career, but I did make mistakes by not informing the ICC about being approached,” Qadeer said.

“But about the other charges, like not cooperating with ICC – that I would deny.

"I would like to help them, even after the decision [to charge him].

“My life is now that I am working hard to meet the expenses of my family.

"If I ever did anything wrong, then for sure I would have a lot of money to live my life with ease.”

Updated: March 11, 2020 09:47 PM

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