Mauritius FA looks into claim recording device seen in women’s toilets in May

A cleaner who works at the Mauritius Football Association has claimed she found a mobile phone in recording mode in the women’s toilets at its headquarters three months before a complaint was lodged with police by another employee.

Two board members have stepped down over the MFA’s handling of accusations made this month by the administrative secretary, Mila Sinnasamy, that the mobile phone discovered on 30 July was concealed in a blue basket placed in the water tank of the women’s toilet at the MFA’s headquarters in Trianon, 15 km from the capital, Port Louis.

According to police sources, a file on the allegations of voyeurism will be submitted to the office of the director of public prosecutions, with Fifa having said it is monitoring the situation.

Now Bindou Kistnairain, who works as a cleaner at the MFA, has revealed she also saw a phone in the toilets during her shift in May but did not report it due to fears of “being fired and any retaliation”.

In a letter to the Mauritius FA’s human resources officer on 4 August and seen by the Guardian, Kistnairain wrote: “It all started when I went to the toilet (left one) to pick up a plastic bin in the blue basket. I saw the phone inside the basket. At first, I took it and then told myself, ‘maybe someone forgot their phone while peeing’ and did not find it strange.”

Kistnairain says she then informed two of her colleagues including Mylene Hosanee about what she had seen before returning to work. “Some hours later, I wanted to fetch the telephone to ask who left it, [but] it was not there anymore. When I got out of the washroom, the general secretary was in the corridor.”

Didier Pragassa – a former sports journalist who had held the post since 2014 – stepped down as general secretary at the start of August citing a health problem. According to Kistnairain’s letter, Pragassa was seen in the women’s toilets on several occasions, including on the day before the phone was discovered by Sinnasamy.

“During the whole day, he kept walking in the corridor watching us and sat in the lounge not to the water dispenser to see who is going in and out [of] the washroom,” Kistnairain wrote.

Another senior employee of the MFA also complained in a letter to the HR department that she had seen Pragassa walking into the toilet two weeks earlier. When questioned what he was doing there, she claimed he told her he was “lost”.

Hosanee said she had been in the toilet on 30 July and suspected Pragassa was hiding in one of the cubicles. “I stopped shaking with fear and I ran into the corridor to tell my colleague that there was someone else in the ladies toilet,” she wrote.

That was when Sinnasamy discovered the mobile phone, having also claimed to have seen Pragassa in the women’s toilets the previous day. “I asked him, ‘Didier, why are you in the women’s toilets?’” She said he replied: “‘I’m opening the windows because of the smell.’”

Pragassa has not responded to the Guardian’s requests for comment. Nazeer Bowud, the MFA’s acting secretary general, said that an internal investigation was under way but questioned why Kistnairain had not reported her suspicions earlier.

“Some complaints said the phone was first seen in May,” he told the Guardian. “Why did no one tell me about it? Why didn’t they go and talk to the president ? If some people didn’t trust me, I can understand, but why keep it silent?”

Hosanee said in her complaint letter she had been “on the verge” of reporting it to Bowud but also feared “being fired”. “I assured him that everything was fine reluctantly. Since that day, fear and shaking have formed part of my daily life at work. I feel too that my intimacy was violated, and I don’t feel secure at work any more.”

But Bowud, who admitted he had received five letters about the incident in total after telling Sinnasamy to write to him after her discovery, denied that the MFA’s apparent inaction had forced her to contact the police.

Bowud added: “I encouraged people to go to the police. We need the truth, and to know how many people are guilty. Because there are different degrees of guilt. If you allow it to happen for example. We’re now installing cameras and we’re also changing the lockers in the toilets. We’re also keeping a record of every outside person coming to the office. We can’t allow it to happen any more.”