Former South Africa pacer Henry Williams has revealed that he and Herschelle Gibbs gave false testimonies to the Kings Commission against Hansie Cronje in the match-fixing saga over a decade ago, to make a stronger case against the late Proteas captain.
Williams on Saturday admitted that he along with teammate Gibbs had lied at the King Commission of inquiry in 2000 about accepting an offer of $15,000 from Cronje to under-perform in an ODI against India in Nagpur. Williams told the Sunday Times that he had acted on the advice of his lawyers.
“When we testified to our lawyers what the story really was, they came up with a threat that we could be prosecuted for doing something like this,” Williams told the newspaper.
Both Williams and Gibbs were fined and banned for six months, while Cronje, who admitted to match fixing, was suspended for life from any form of the sport by the ICC.
Cronje later died in a plane crash in 2002.
Williams said that he was pressurised into making his statement.
Asked why he was coming clean now, Williams, who represented the Proteas in seven ODIs, said, “It’s just the truth. It’s long gone and I’ve made peace with the whole story. I can never forget about it, but I forgive what’s been done to me.
“I just want this to be put to rest and to let go of it.”
But the lawyers in question — Mike Fitzgerald and Peter Whelan — denied Williams’ allegations, saying the player told the truth once Gibbs had done so — after unsuccessfully trying to lie their way out of the situation.
“That's outrageous. Why would I give my own client a version that implicates him?,” Fitzgerald told the paper. Whelan called the claims “fundamental rubbish”.