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SINGAPORE: A memorial football match was held for late prosecutor Gnanasihamani Kannan at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday evening (Jul 19).

Mr Kannan, who was 52, died in an accident while on overseas leave on Jun 14. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Tuesday’s match was jointly organised by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), where Mr Kannan was a senior director and senior state counsel, and the Criminal Bar.

The match featured two mixed teams comprising officers from the AGC, the judiciary, members of the Criminal Bar and officers from the Ministry of Manpower, where Mr Kannan served earlier in his career.

Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair said the strong turnout was a testament to the positive impact that Mr Kannan made both personally and professionally.

“Kannan was a huge football fan, and tonight’s match was a fitting and moving tribute for our colleague and friend,” he said.

“He will be missed by all of us. In our celebration of his life and many achievements, our thoughts are with his family who loved him most.”

A donation of S$16,000 was made to SportsCares, the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore, in Mr Kannan’s name.

Contributions came from the match participants, Mr Kannan’s colleagues, members of the Criminal Bar, and family and friends of Mr Kannan.

Mr Kannan joined the AGC in 1995 and was involved in high-profile cases like the ongoing prosecution of Lim Oon Kuin, the founder of collapsed oil trading firm Hin Leong Trading.

This year, he acted in the case of Andrew Gosling, who threw a glass bottle that killed an elderly man in what was described as an act of “religious hostility”.

He also prosecuted the 2016 sedition cases of Yang Kaiheng and Ai Takagi, the couple behind The Real Singapore website.

During his career, Mr Kannan was also involved in significant initiatives including the setting up of a task force to tackle match-fixing, said the AGC.

The AGC said the task force developed Singapore’s capability in investigating and prosecuting match-fixing offences, and improved the country’s reputation in the international sporting scene.

“Under Mr Kannan’s leadership, the task force contributed to the international effort to combat such offences and oversaw several high-profile match-fixing prosecutions,” said the AGC.

This included a case involving the fixing of a 2015 Southeast Asian Games football match between Timor-Leste and Malaysia.

Mr Kannan was well respected by all who worked with him, including fellow prosecutors and opposing counsel, added the AGC.

“G Kannan will be missed. He was a tough but fair opponent and brought a touch of elegance and panache to the courtroom,” said Mr Sunil Sudheesan, president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore.

“He was well respected by the Bar and his loss is a loss for our criminal justice system. The Criminal Bar could not think of a better way to honour him than with briyani and football.”

President of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and veteran criminal lawyer Mr Lim Kia Tong also played an instrumental role in organising the match, said AGC.

Mr Lim said he had known Mr Kannan for many years both in his capacity as a defence lawyer and an official of Singapore’s football governing body.

“My most memorable time with Kannan was when we were working together hand in glove since 2015 in trying to rid the beautiful game of football of match manipulation.

“I could see that as someone who loved the game, Kannan was unflinching in wanting to maintain a high integrity and cleanliness from the cancer that could tarnish and erode the sport.”

Mr Lim added: “FAS is very happy to support and help execute this heart-warming gesture by the AGC and the Criminal Bar to hold a match in memory of Kannan.