SINGAPORE: The trial of two Timor Leste nationals accused of conspiring to fix a SEA Games football match has started on Wednesday (Nov 4) at the State Courts.
Moises Natalino De Jesus, 31, has been charged with agreeing to offer bribes to players of the Timor Leste football team as well as a technical director of the Timor Leste football association. The alleged bribes were a reward to arrange for the Timor Leste football team to lose their match against Malaysia on May 30.
The technical director in question, Orlando Marques Henriques Mendes, 49, has also been charged on three counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act for agreeing to accept the bribe to arrange for the Timor Leste football team to lose their match against Malaysia.
Orlando is represented by Mr Eugene Thuraisingam and Mr Mervyn Cheong, while Moises is conducting his own defence.
The men’s co-accused, Indonesian Nasiruddin and Singaporean Rajendran R Kurusamy, pleaded guilty earlier this year and were sentenced to 30 and 48 months’ jail respectively.
Rajendran met accomplice Nasiruddin on several occasions in May 2015 after the latter agreed to help Rajendran in the match-fixing conspiracy, the court heard when the Singaporean pleaded guilty in September. Rajendran told Nasiruddin that if he was able to get information about the Timor Leste team and players, that they would share the profits.
Nasiruddin then paid for former Timor Leste football player Moises to travel to Batam. Over there, Moises met Rajendran, who said that he would give a sum of money to the Timor Leste players who could help ensure they lost against Malaysia.
Moises then introduced the men to Orlando, who was also the team manager of the Timor Leste SEA Games football team.
The quartet met in Singapore at the Orchid Country Club on May 28. At their meeting, Rajendran agreed to give Orlando S$15,000 to help arrange for the Timor Leste team to lose the match. He also offered each player who helped to lose the game S$4,000 each.
Hours after this meeting, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) arrested the four men. The match proceeded on May 30 and ended 1-0 in Malaysia's favour.
Rajendran, currently serving his jail term, was brought to court on Wednesday afternoon to testify against Moises and Orlando. He was the eighth prosecution witness called on the first day, out of a total of 18 expected to testify throughout the trial.
Deputy Public Prosecutor G Kannan questioned Rajendran over the sequence of events leading up to the meeting of the men on May 28 at the Orchid Country Club.
Rajendran revealed that three matches were being considered for fixing: Malaysia, Thailand and Laos – but that only the conspiracy to fix the Malaysian match had materialised. Rajendran also recounted how he chose which matches would make “better business”, considering the strength of the team and the fitness of the players.
If convicted, the men could be jailed for up to five years and/or fined up to S$100,000 per charge.
The trial continues.