Badminton Life

Fresh Controversy Hits Singapore Body

Controversy has rocked the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA). Recently, the body was criticised over its attempts to re-employ someone who was convicted of corruption.

If that wasn't bad enough, it emerged that the SBA is currently employing some who had pleaded guilty to theft just weeks ago. SBA officials claimed they were ignorant about his case.

SBA said, according to Singapore media: "He did not declare his conviction to us as required under the terms and conditions of his employment."

The employee is high performance executive Ramesh Techinamurthi. It was reported that court documents showed that, on September 26, he admitted to stealing S$425 last December while working as a sports executive at the Singapore Cricket Club.

On April 11, he was arrested by police and is now appealing against a 20-week jail term hand down by a District Court.

The 40-year-old Ramesh was in Indonesia on a national training trip when reporters got in touch with him. However, he said: "I've been instructed not to speak."

According to the reports, the news has shocked SBA staff, who were apparently unaware of Ramesh's record.

Singapore media quoted SBA chief executive officer Edwin Pang as saying in an e-mail: "He did not declare his conviction to us as required under the terms and conditions of his employment as an Administrative Executive (high performance).

"The disciplinary committee plan to interview him upon his return to decide on further action."

Ramesh's case is the second controversy to hit the SBA. It comes soon after a newspaper report said that the country's governing body for badminton had re-employed technical director Zheng Qingjin on October 2.

Zheng, 65, was reported to have abused the same position by accepting bribes totaling $6,000. He was fined $20,000 last December.

Zheng, who was in charge of training national players, coaches and coach recruitment, had reportedly taken bribes in return for recommending that former women's coach You Guangli be made chief coach and that You's contract be renewed.

He had stepped down in 2006 because of what he said was ill-health.

There has been criticism of the SBA for putting Zheng in the same position which he used to abuse his power, although the SBA insists that he is best qualified for the job.

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