The answers to questions raised by KPMG auditors about Cricket chief executive Gerald Majola’s travel expenses could well lie in his private rather than his professional life.
Among other issues raised, the executive summary released from a much longer forensic report conducted by auditing firm KPMG into the finances of Cricket SA (CSA), queried 15 flights taken by either Majola or his wife.
According to KPMG, Majola failed to provide satisfactory “explanations or documentation relating to the trips undertaken by him and his wife (Phumla Majola) to justify that such costs were incurred while on CSA business”.
In addition to the 15 flights costing R39 571, the auditors also queried a hotel stay in Bloemfontein and another at Sun City, in 2009.
As explained by Majola, the Sun City expenditure was related to the official launch of Telkom’s cellular network at Sun City on June 27, 2009. As recorded, he and his wife stayed at the Sun City main hotel at a cost of R4 035.09.
However, the KPMG auditors could “find no evidence of Majola having been invited to the Telkom Heita launch at Sun City, nor could we establish whether such an event took place at Sun City at the time”.
According to news reports, the Heita network was launched only in October last year – more than a year after the Majolas’ stay. Moreover, the event was held at Joburg’s Lanseria airport, not Sun City.
There was however a major event on June 27, 2009 – R&B star R Kelly was performing at the Sun City Superbowl.
It is unclear whether Majola attended the concert.
Detailed questions around his travel expenses were rebuffed by CSA this week, on the basis that they were still busy seeking legal advice.
Another overnight stay flagged by the auditors was a night at the Southern Sun hotel in Bloemfontein on July 25, 2009, costing R1 146.23.
The KPMG summary report states: “Majola could not provide us with an explanation that confirmed the business reason for the costs.”
A check on major events in Bloemfontein on that date indicates that a Tri-Nations rugby match was played at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein.
Majola also spent R5 987 at Sun City in December 2009 attending the Nedbank Golf Challenge. According to the report, Majola said he had been invited by a CSA sponsor and that he had not paid accommodation costs. Food, beverage and the cost of an extra bed had been claimed as expenses from CSA.
The R39 571 in unexplained flights does not include the cost of flights that Majola booked for his children at CSA’s expense. Majola has already paid back around R28 000 for these costs.
Most of the 15 unexplained flights flagged by KPMG and charged to CSA were between Joburg and Port Elizabeth, Majola’s home town.
Some, such as a trip on March 12 and 13, 2010, do coincide with cricket events – in this case the Standard Bank Pro 20 Series Final which was played in Port Elizabeth on March 12.
Others however coincide with long weekends (both Majola and his wife travelled to Port Elizabeth over the Easter weekend last year), and family events. In November 2009, Phumla Majola flew to Port Elizabeth for a week between November 16 and 24. The flight cost R2 804.
On November 20, the couple held a lavish 50th birthday party for Majola and a “wedding” ceremony, officiated by former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in which the couple renewed their vows.
There are also expenses for flights to Port Elizabeth for Phumla, when Majola would have been on official cricket business elsewhere.
A four-day stay in Port Elizabeth, with flights costing R3 513 from September 23 to 27 in 2009 coincides with the ICC Champions League trophy tournament – which was played at the Wanderers in Johannesburg and Supersport Park in Pretoria on those dates.
CSA has previously confirmed that Majola’s wife would be paid for if she was accompanying her husband on official business. It is however unclear whether her travel expenses were to be paid when her husband was not travelling with her.
The KPMG auditors state in their summary of their report that “we were not provided with an official CSA policy regarding travel expenditure at CSA applicable to the period under review. It appears that the travel expenses incurred by Majola were left to his discretion.
Furthermore, his contract of employment did not address travel-related expenditure. It was further clear that the only control mechanism in place was a review of expenditure against the budgeted amount.”
The report found that Majola had overspent his travel budget for the period under review by R34 414. However his total spend as chief executive totalled only R7 390 384 – some R1 245 749 less than budgeted. - Weekend Argus