‘I don’t re­mem­ber’: com­mon phrase by player who ap­proached oth­ers to lose Malta match

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

Sey­ble Zam­mit, a foot­ball player who had ad­mit­ted to charges re­lat­ing to a match-fix­ing scan­dal, used the phrase ‘I don’t re­mem­ber’ count­less times dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion yes­ter­day in the case against Ron­nie Mackay, 34, from St Ju­lian’s, who is be­ing ac­cused of try­ing to fix a match.

Zam­mit had pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty in court, but the court did not pun­ish him be­cause of his col­lab­o­ra­tion with the po­lice.

The pass­word to Zam­mit’s phone was re­quired by the court ex­pert who was as­signed to ex­am­ine it. Zam­mit, how­ever, claimed not to re­mem­ber it. He told the court that the po­lice had pre­vi­ously asked him for the pass­word and he had tried to re­mem­ber it, giv­ing two pos­si­ble codes, which the court ex­pert tried un­suc­cess­fully. Zam­mit said that he would nor­mally just swipe his thumb over the screen and it would un­lock. The ex­pert, how­ever, ex­plained that once the phone goes off, then a pin is re­quired to un­lock it.

Dur­ing the com­pi­la­tion of ev­i­dence, heard be­fore Mag­is­trate Joe Mif­sud, Zam­mit claimed that Mr Mackay was the per­son who had ap­proached him in the first place, and that he vaguely knew of Mr Mackay be­fore that. He claimed that Mr Mackay had called him on his phone, but he had never given him his num­ber.

He told the court, while be­ing cross-ex­am­ined by de­fence lawyer Dr Gianella de Marco, that he had ap­proached other players, telling them that there was some­one who wanted to fix the Malta vs Mon­tene­gro Un­der21 game.

Dr de Marco quoted a state­ment made by player Luke Mon­te­bello, who said that he had been ap­proached by Zam­mit and had sub­se­quently met him in a car with another player – Kyle Ce­sare. “He said that Sey­ble had told him to fix the match, and that he didn’t hadn’t ac­cepted and ex­ited the car. Is this true?” Dr de Marco asked. Zam­mit said that Mr Mon­te­bello didn’t give him a chance to say much be­fore ex­it­ing the car.

Dr de Marco then said that Mr Mon­te­bello had tes­ti­fied that Zam­mit of­fered him be­tween €2,500 and €3,000, and that Zam­mit did not men­tion ar­rang­ing a meet­ing with any­one else. Zam­mit said he did not re­mem­ber this, and only re­mem­bered say­ing that he wanted Mr Mon­te­bello to meet Mr Mackay.

“You are say­ing that he left with­out giv­ing you a chance to say much. He is say­ing that you of­fered him to lose the game, of­fer­ing him the afore­men­tioned amount.” Zam­mit replied that he did not re­mem­ber that.

Zam­mit said he had met with many players back then. Asked how many, he said he did not re­mem­ber. “Six to seven months isn’t a long time,” Dr de Marco said, re­fer­ring to the time since the al­leged match­fix­ing at­tempt oc­curred.

He then pro­ceeded to name a few of the players.

“Do you try to fix matches of­ten?” Dr de Marco asked. “No, this was the first time,” he replied.

“If I were to say that a year ear­lier you had made a sim­i­lar of­fer to other players, what would you say?” Dr de Marco asked. “You’re mis­taken,” he said.

The pros­e­cu­tion ob­jected to the above ques­tion.

Asked whether he was known for match-fix­ing, Zam­mit replied in the neg­a­tive.

In the case of Kyle Ce­sare, he said that he had en­tered Kyle Ce­sare’s car in Pi­età, and they waited for Mr Mackay, who brought an Asian per­son to the car.

Dr de Marco asked what the con­ver­sa­tion was about, to which Zam­mit said that Mr Ce­sare and the Asian man had ba­si­cally shook hands, said “ok” and “con­firmed” be­fore the Asian man left.

Dr de Marco pressed him on what the con­ver­sa­tion in the car had been about, given that they spent around five min­utes in­side, to which he even­tu­ally said he did not re­mem­ber.

He also told the court that the fix­ing for that match was ul­ti­mately can­celled, as not enough players had agreed.

Dr Gian­luca Caru­ana Cur­ren is also ap­pear­ing for the de­fence.

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