Johannesburg - Former cricket boss Ali Bacher told the inquiry into South African cricket's bonus scandal on Monday he had no involvement in his getting a R5 million bonus following the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Bacher said at no stage was he involved in discussions for a bonus after the tournament in South Africa with either the United Cricket Board of SA (UCBSA) or the Cricket World Cup (CWC) company, the organisation created and charged with organising and running the tournament.
Bacher told the commission, chaired by retired judge Chris Nicholson, that the R5 million was awarded in accordance with the way he had organised and run the tournament, and also took into account his pension as he was to retire from cricket administration after the tournament.
His monthly salary at CWC was R59 161, the most Bacher said he had ever received as a cricket administrator.
When he began his career as a cricket administrator, no provision had been made for retirement or medical benefits. Such benefits only came into existence in the latter part of his career at the UCBSA. He said the amount he had accumulated from the UCBSA was “quite frightening.”
The decision was verified by both companies' boards at the time.
Altogether R6.5 million was paid out in bonuses following the conclusion of the tournament.
"When we talk about 2003, to the credit of the Cricket World Cup [company], they were strong and consistent with the payment of R5 million being made public,” Bacher said, citing a Sunday Times article published at the time.
"No CWC director received payment for their involvement in the CWC. They saw it as a contribution to their country,” Bacher said, disputing claims made by current Cricket SA CEO Gerald Majola in December that certain staff had received money from CWC for services rendered at the tournament.
Bacher was the CEO of the UCBSA from June 1991 to January 1, 2001, when he became the executive director of CWC in preparation for the 2003 tournament.
Majola replaced him as CEO of the cricket body on the same date.
Bacher said in the latter half of 2000 he was offered a percentage of the profits made from the coming tournament, after discussions at board level at the UCBSA. Bacher declined the offer, stating the board would decide on an appropriate bonus at the end of every year, as his contract stated.
Majola initially discussed a six-month mentoring period with him before taking over, but this did not materialise. Bacher said a CEO deciding to operate independently from his predecessor was not uncommon in the corporate sector.
“You get a feel, an impulse, that it’s time to move on. I had the same feeling in 2000.” With the Cricket World Cup approaching, he felt it was the appropriate time to move on.
When asked by Nicholson about comments Majola made in a book, suggesting Bacher had left the UCBSA in a chaotic state, the former CEO declined to comment.
He was quizzed on his opinion concerning defects within the board structure of South African cricket.
"Conflict of interest and vested interest is a serious problem.”
He referred to the current review underway in Australia, a country he believed led the world in cricket administration, as an example of how to reform management of the sport, with independent board members being the central thrust.
Bacher said he did not come forward to the committee of inquiry until he was invited because he was not party to events surrounding the Indian Premier League bonuses paid to Majola and other cricket officials.
After Bacher left cricket administration, he said he never wanted to have contact or influence people currently involved with the running of cricket in South Africa.
The Nicholson inquiry was announced by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula after auditing firm KPMG recommended that CSA’s remuneration and travel allowance policy be reviewed.
A KPMG audit found that bonus payments to staff had not been fully declared to the federation's remunerations committee, and that Majola had breached the Companies Act on at least four occasions.