SINGAPORE: A 43-year-old naturalised Singapore citizen will have his citizenship stripped for his involvement in match-fixing.
The man has been served with a notice of proposed deprivation of citizenship under Article 133(1) of the Constitution, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday (Dec 7).
Channel NewsAsia understands that the man is Mali-born Gaye Alassane, a former S-League player.
In its statement, MHA said the man obtained his Singapore citizenship by registration in 2003 through the Family Ties Scheme. "At the point of his application, there was no information to suggest that he was involved in any criminal activities," said the ministry.
However, as a Singapore citizen, he became an "active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate that was "created in and took root in Singapore".
LAW AND ORDER UNDERMINED
MHA said he and his syndicate members used Singapore as a hub to conduct major global match-fixing activities, conspiring with them to fix games "in various countries through corruption of officials and players".
He travelled to these countries to fix the matches and established relationships with foreign nationals in Singapore to draw them into his activities.
The man also helped move bribe money for his syndicate into Singapore, remitted and "even personally couriered" these bribes out from Singapore to facilitate match-fixing activities.
Said the ministry: "This individual's serious criminal conduct not only undermined the integrity of Singapore's financial system, but also law and order.
"Witnesses were afraid of testifying against the individual and his syndicate members in open court for fear of reprisal."
For having engaged in criminal activities that "prejudiced the public safety, peace and good order" of Singapore, the man was dealt with under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act and is currently under a police supervision order, said MHA.
CITIZENSHIP COMES WITH DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS: MHA
This is not the first time a Singaporean will have his citizenship stripped. MHA said there have been previous cases of other Singaporeans – who became citizens by registration or naturalisation – who had their citizenships taken away over their criminal activities.
The last time this happened was in 1987. Without naming the person, MHA said the man had committed "various serious offences such as drug trafficking".
In the case announced on Thursday, the ministry is moving to strip the man's citizenship given the "seriousness and detrimental impact" of his actions.
Alassane can apply for his case to be referred to a Citizenship Committee of Inquiry, which will then hold an inquiry and submit a report to the Home Affairs Minister. The minister will then decide whether to remove his citizenship.
If his citizenship is taken away, Alassane will be stateless and will have to stay in Singapore on a special pass granted by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. He will not be able to enjoy citizenship privileges, and will not be allowed to apply for a Singapore passport.
"SC (Singapore citizenship) comes with privileges and benefits, as well as duties and obligations. Individuals who have been granted SC should cherish it and not act contrary to national interests," MHA said.
"Those who undertake activities that prejudice our security or PSPGO (public safety, peace and good order) deserve to have their citizenship status deprived."