SOUTH African jockeys Brandon Lerena and Raymond Danielson were on Tuesday successful in their appeal against a three-month suspension from riding handed down by The Mauritius Turf Club (MTC) and are now awaiting clearance certificates to leave the island.
However, in a situation which Durbanbased legal representative Bruce Armstrong described as “bizarre”, Muzi Yeni remains forcibly stranded on the island despite no charge having been laid against him.
It is well documented that Lerena, Danielson and Yeni went on a catamaran trip in June and one of the other people on the boat, unbeknown to them, turned out to be a licensed bookmaker.
Lerena and Danielson were found to be in breach of a MTC rule regarding associations between licensed jockeys and licensed bookmakers and were charged.
However, an appeal against the subsequent guilty verdict was heard internally on the MTC premises on Tuesday and was upheld.
Yeni was not charged with the same breach for the reason the MTC accepted that, as he had only been on the island for a few days, he could not have known the aforementioned man was a licensed bookmaker.
Earlier, Yeni had volunteered information to the MTC regarding a “WhatsApp" screen shot, posted on a Facebook group, in relation to a conversation which allegedly took place between somebody called “MuziYeni Q” and another person, the identity of whom is unknown.
The Racing Stewards of the Mauritius Turf Club carried out an inquiry into this matter and concluded that there was no evidence of Yeni having acted in contravention of the MTC Rules of Racing.
They therefore decided not to proceed further with the inquiry and no charge was laid against Yeni.
However, before any foreign worker is allowed to leave Mauritius, they have to obtain clearances from all relevant authorities. Yeni was granted these by both the MTC and the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA).
Subsequently,Yeni was requested by the “Police des jeux”, a department of the MRA, to record a statement in relation to the “catamaran” incident.
Together with a Mauritian legal representative, Yeni fully cooperated with the “Police des jeux” and voluntarily gave a detailed version on the issues raised by the latter.
The “Police des Jeux" then allowed him to leave the premises and told him he was free to go.
Ten Gun Salute
It then appeared that, Yeni was free to leave the island in order to ride Ten Gun Salute in the Vodacom Durban July at Greyville on July 1.
However, in the first of a sequence of events, Yeni’s legal representative was informed on the same day by the officers of the “Police des Jeux” that there was an “objection to departure” placed upon him and such objection was lodged at the request of the Prime Minister's Office.
Yeni’s subsequent appeals to all of The Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office; The Commissioner of Police; The Gambling and Regulatory Authority; The Passport and Immigration Officer; and the Director of Public Prosecutions to provide a reason for the objection brought no joy.
To date neither Yeni nor his legal advisors have been provided with any reasons for the “objection to departure” and no provisional charges have been levelled against Yeni.
In another twist, the “objection to departure” in question seems to be for an indefinite period as Yeni has not been informed of the duration of such objection.
A further application to the supreme court was adjourned until August 18, despite Yeni’s legal representatives pointing out the urgency of a resolution to the matter as Yeni’s livelihood is at stake.