By Omulo Okoth
Kenya’s former captain Maurice Odumbe has gone undeground to avoid arrest by agents said to be of world cricket ruling body.
Maurice Odumbe in a recent picture. Odumbe, who captained Kenya for many years, is hiding to avoid arrest. [Photos: FILE AND JAMES KEYI/STANDARD]"The ICC (International Cricket Council) has issued an arrest warrant through a Nairobi law firm demanding about Sh575,000 from me. I don’t have that kind money and I can’t understand why ICC can persecute its subjects," Odumbe, 40, told FeverPitch.
Odumbe was in 2004 banned for five years for being in contact with renowned bookmakers and bringing the game of cricket into disrepute. The ban ends in August. An officer at the law firm confirmed the warrant "was in force" but could not divulge more details.
Another officer from the law firm then said: "We don’t give information to outsiders."
The warrant has been on for two months. But the body representing international cricketers has said nobody in ICC is after Odumbe.
Tim May, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers Association, said he had contacted the ICC, who washed their hands off the Odumbe matter.
"They have informed me that no one from ICC is chasing you for any money at all and that no one from there has made any call to you demanding any monies," said May, an Australian, in an email to Odumbe.
"They have also informed me that there was no judgement against you to repay any monies by way of a fine or for legal costs incurred by either ICC or KCA," he said.
"My understanding is that it would have been Kenya that would have prosecuted you - not the ICC - although ICC would have assisted with such prosecution.
"If someone is hassling you with payment, I would suggest going to the KCA/police to report the matter," he said.
Cricket Kenya chief executive, Tom Tikolo, denied knowledge of the arrest warrant, but said he was aware of a planned fund raising to bail Odumbe out.
"I have suffered enough and I should be left alone to lead a normal life. It is outrageous that a banned player who lived off the game is expected to raise that kind of money when he had been out of employment for five years," said Odumbe.
During the ICC trial in Nairobi, which had the ingredients of a soap opera, Odumbe’s former Canadian wife and two girlfriends testified against him, riveting the trials, presided over by a Zimbabwean judge, Ahmed Ebrahim, with graphic details of Odumbe’s alleged dubious dealings with suspected Indian bookmaker, Jagdish Sodha.
Odumbe’s defence team protested fiercely against accepting evidence from Odumbe’s former girlfriends, with whom he had parted ways and a wife who had lodged divorce proceedings.
He also complained the Zimbabwean former judge had an axe to grind with him after Odumbe fiercely protested against his calls when he refereed a cricket match involving Kenya.