One-day skipper Shahid Afridi, team coach Waqar Younis and former security manager of Pakistan team Major (retd) Khawaja Najam Javed, in their startling eye witness accounts to the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission probing the spot-fixing case, have admitted that ‘bookie’ Mazhar Majeed had kept constant contact with the three ‘tainted’ Pakistan players during the last England tour in August and even stayed at the team’s hotel despite several warnings.

But while the eye-opening statements by the three officials further spoil the case of the three ‘tainted’ players Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif, they also highlight the incompetence and laxity on part of the ICC’s Anti-corruption Unit and the Pakistan Cricket Board in the spot-fixing scam which was exposed by British tabloid News of the World during the Lord’s Test last summer.

The statements from the three officials confirm ‘bookie’ Mazhar Majeed’s frequent visits to the team hotel to meet the suspect players and that he continued meeting the players in and outside the hotel despite several warnings from the security manager Major Najam.

The question that arises here is: why did Waqar or Major Najam not bring the suspect activities of Mazhar and his brother Azhar Majeed to the notice of either the ICC’s Anti-corruption Unit or the PCB?

It is also amazing how the ICC Anti-corruption Unit, whose agents are always deployed at the team hotel and other places during any international series, failed to observe any of the ‘shady’ moves from the Majeed brothers.

The witness statements, obtained by Dawn recently, hugely dent any hopes of the ‘tainted’ trio, particularly Salman Butt, of defending themselves at the ICC hearing which is set for Jan 6, 2011.

The statements also claim that Mazhar had definite contacts with wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal apart from the three tainted players.

Major Najam, who was recently removed from his job after the series against South Africa in the UAE, claims in his statement: “During the Scotland Yard search of the players’ rooms at the team hotel, two police officers found cash in a bag and a small suitcase which they seized. Most of the cash was in the suitcase. I asked the police officers to put on record the amount of money they had confiscated and they did so immediately. I have retained that note and attached a copy of it which reads as follows: Room No. 714 — 24,300 UAE Dirhams, 29,787 Pound Sterlings, 12,617 US dollars, 10 Australian dollars, 26,015 Pakistani Rupees, 350 Canadian dollars and 440 South African Rands.”

Najam’s statement adds: “While we were there, the police officers asked Salman Butt why he had so much cash in his room and Mr Butt stated, ‘It’s for my two sisters, they are getting married, it’s for their dowry’.

The security manager further says that during the search of Mohammad Asif’s room, the bowler remained quite calm but the other pacer, Mohammad Aamir looked very, very upset.