The FIFA Independent Ethics Committee has banned Tanzanian referee Oden Charles Mbaga for life after being found guilty of accepting illegal payments.
While the world governing body did not give details of the bribery allegations, Reuters reported FIFA as saying that Mbaga “accepted bribes to manipulate several national and international matches between 2009 and 2012.”
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Mbaga was also fined $200 000. “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr Oden Charles Mbaga, a referee affiliated to the Tanzania Football Federation, guilty of having accepted bribes in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics…and banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
“Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 200,000 has been imposed on Mr Mbaga,” Fifa said in a statement.
Fifa said investigations on Mbaga were opened in July 2018 but Mbaga reacted to his ban by telling Reuters that he was last interviewed by Fifa in 2010.
“This is a shocking news to me (sic). I don’t know anything about me being banned to participate football activities for life (sic). I really don’t know this.
“I know Fifa was doing an investigation and the last time they came to interview me about the issue was in 2010. I told them openly that I don’t know anything about match-fixing and I have never heard anything from them since then.”
It is not yet known if he intends to appeal against the ban.
The Tanzanian referee becomes the second African referee to be handed a life ban and fined $200 000 by Fifa this year after Ibrahim Chaibou from Niger was also found guilty of a similar offence as Mbaga.