President of the Muslim Judicial Commission (MJC) Sheik Irafaan Abrahams has sought relief at the Western Cape High Court for an urgent interdict against a special election that could spell his removal from office.
The election comes after a commission of inquiry was appointed by the MJC, which found that there were financial irregularities and mismanagement of Covid-19 relief funds that totalled R928 504.
The MJC said it intended, with its special elections, to elect new executive members on September 23, in the positions of president, first and second deputy presidents, treasurer and secretary-general.
In his application to the high court, Abrahams submitted that “despite no allegations levelled” against him, certain members of executive council of the MJC suggested that he was the “figure-head and the operations behind the alleged financial irregularities”.
In a statement the MJC said: “We noted the dissemination, in the public domain, of a copy of the application proceeding in the high court.
“The MJC is opposing the matter and wishes to inform the public that the matter is sub judice (and therefore) the MJC is not at liberty to discuss the contents thereof at this stage. The MJC wishes to assure the Muslim community that the proper function of the organisation will not be impeded,” the statement read.
Abrahams, currently serving a second five-year term as president of the MJC, said in the absence of formal allegations and no disciplinary procedures taken against him, he unequivocally denied that he “was behind any decision-making that had resulted in the financial irregularities”.
He submitted that he had been requested on several occasions to resign from his position, but had declined each time because he “firmly believes” that he was not to blame.
According to the inquiry, expenditure of “at least R240 000 (but likely much more) was not authorised by the Executive Council of the MJC”.
It also found gross negligence in financial recording regarding cash withdrawals and payments amounting to R385 900.
There were no receipts of the payments or records of the recipients of payments which were made.
Earlier this year, the MJC confirmed it had placed its treasury under administration after the inquiry “found systematic financial mismanagement and serious control failures”.
In a statement in January, the MJC said the inquiry was related to its 2020/21 financial year.
The allegations of funds mismanagement surfaced when former executive member, Dr Moulana Yusuf Arieff, in April last year wrote to the General Council, calling for an investigation into donations made to imams.
Cape Town Ulama Board said: “The Cape Town Ulama Board, alongside the MJC exco, has been instrumental in addressing the needs of the Muslim community both provincially and nationally and ensuring that the rights and well-being of Muslims are protected.
We are confident that they have measures put in place to resolve their internal matters.”