Rwandan FA bosses arrested over AFCON qualifier bribery allegations

Congo vs Rwanda

September 17 – Two senior Rwandan federation officials have been arrested in the latest bribery scandal to rock African football. 

The Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) said it was holding federation (Ferwafa) secretary-general Francois Regis Uwayezu and commissioner of competitions Eric Ruhamiriza over allegations that they tried to bribe Jackson Pavaza, a Namibian referee who officiated the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on September 9 between Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire.

“We are questioning them. RIB has the mandate to investigate alleged crimes which have been brought to light, in the interest of the general public,” RIB spokesperson Modeste Mbabazi told the EastAfrican media organisation.

Namibian media reported that Pavaza had communicated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that the officials tried to bribe him and others to manipulate results in favour of the Rwandan national team.

“The money was in an envelope. I did not try to count it or see how much it I was. I just told them that I do not accept any gifts from anyone, as per CAF regulations,” Pavaza is quoted as saying.

None of the other match officials have come forward to comment either way on Pavaza’s claims but Ferwafa vehemently denied the claims.

“We are shocked by the remarks made by Namibian CAF referee Jackson Pavaza claiming to have been bribed to manipulate the result of the 2019 Afcon qualifier between Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire held on September 9, 2018 at Stade de Kigali,” Ferwafa said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ferwafa explained that it only paid $247 for expenses incurred by Pavaza and three other match officials as per AFCON regulations.

If found guilty, Rwanda, who lost the game in question 2-1, could be fined or even thrown out of next year’s AFCON to be hosted by Cameroon.

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