Judge fingers board in Majola bonus scandal

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INLSA

From left: Freeman Nomvalo, Judge Chris Nicholson and Zolisa Zwakala answer questions from the media after delivering the report of the committee of investigation into the affairs of Cricket South Africa at Loftus Versfeld. Picture: Phill Magakoe

CRICKET SA board members are to blame for the bonus scandal, says a former CSA executive after Judge Chris Nicholson, who led an inquiry into CSA’s finances, lambasted chief executive Gerald Majola for his starring role.

“The board has been given a second chance to do the right thing. If they fail to heed the judge’s recommendations, then cricket in this country will be killed,” warned former CSA board member, Logan Naidoo.

On Friday, Judge Nicholson made recommendations after his inquiry into the finances of CSA.

The inquiry was initiated in November at the request of Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The findings suggested that Majola be suspended and face an independent disciplinary committee relating to his role in the distribution of unauthorised bonuses totalling R4.5 million to CSA staff.

This could lead to criminal charges for the embattled CEO and probable probing from Sars. Nicholson found that Majola breached the Companies Act on at least four instances.

nt gerald Majola2

08.10.24 L-R: Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka (new Cricket South Africa President), Gerald Majola (CSA CEO) at the Holiday Inn Garden Court. Picture: Cara Viereckl

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The money was distributed after the IPL and Champions League competitions were staged in South Africa in 2009, with Majola pocketing the lion’s share of the kitty (R1.78m).

“Majola is likely to come under serious fire for his actions, but I think CSA’s board members should be held liable for this mess because they gave him the liberty to do as he pleased,” said Naidoo, who is the vice-president of the KZN Cricket Union.

“In fact the blame trickles down to us at provincial level. We should not have been as lenient in forwarding our stance on this issue when the whole bonus issue was initially being dealt with by CSA.

“We should have given the right mandate to our presidents. This is a smack in the face of all cricket administrators. We need to question our involvement in the game.

“Based on the recommendations of the judge, serious questions need to be asked about the findings of the internal commission that was previously led by CSA acting president, AK Khan,” said Naidoo.

“They found him guilty of no wrongdoing,” Naidoo added.

Khan’s commission exonerated Majola and went a step further by repaying the CEO his bonus with interest.

However, Nicholson’s findings suggest that Khan’s commission was set up to protect Majola from any inquiry.

“We need to adhere to Nicholson’s recommendations. And, there is no individual greater than the law. Gerald should take a leave of absence so that this entire mess can be cleaned up.”

But a CSA board member, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that when some of them wanted to delve deeper into the bonus scandal in the past, they had the door firmly shut in their faces.

“Some of us are of the firm belief that information about bonuses dating as far back to 2003, when Ali Bacher received his golden handshake (R3m) for bringing the 2003 Cricket World Cup to SA, was being withheld. We were told that CSA’s computers crashed and that all information had been lost,” the source said.

“We need to act decisively and meet as a board urgently and follow the recommendations of the judge so that we can clean up cricket.”

While Nicholson and cricket authorities are calling for Majola to be brought to book, the National Prosecuting Authority said it won’t act until a formal case docket is forwarded to them by police.

NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said: “The NPA is a prosecutorial component in the criminal justice system whose responsibility is to make prosecutorial decisions, based on evidential material contained in a case docket submitted.

“At this stage, no case docket has been presented to the NPA for consideration and, therefore, it can’t be correct to state that the NPA is to probe Mr Majola.”


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