Cricket

Majola questions judge's report

2012-03-14 17:40
Gerald Majola (File)
Johannesburg - Cricket SA chief executive Gerald Majola is said to have questioned the impartiality of retired Judge Chris Nicholson.

Dennis Cruywagen, who calls himself a close associate of the CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday that Majola suspected "he was a victim of a hatchet job".

There was also concern over the credibility of Nicholson's findings.

"His [Majola] legal adviser has already picked some inconsistencies in the report," Cruywagen said.

This followed a scathing report released by the ministerial inquiry, headed by Nicholson, into the CSA's ongoing bonus scandal.

Cruywagen said Majola's legal adviser Max Boqwana contended that Nicholson had relied on the conjectures and prejudices of people who had left cricket administration years ago.

"He [Nicholson] had ignored Gerald Majola's submission because he had seemingly made up his mind that Majola was guilty... [and] also ignored all CSA's submissions," said Cruywagen.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula appointed the Nicholson inquiry in November to investigate CSA's failure to implement recommendations by auditing firm KPMG.

KPMG found that bonus payments of R4.5 million to Majola, former CSA chief operating officer Don McIntosh, and other employees, had been kept secret from the federation's remuneration committee. Majola was found to have breached the Companies Act at least four times.

The committee received written and oral submissions from current and former CSA staff and the public over three months. It adjourned at the end of January to compile its report.

One of the recommendations made by the Nicholson inquiry committee last week was that the CSA board suspend Majola pending a disciplinary inquiry.

Cruywagen said Majola would ask for a three-month leave of absence at a management committee meeting later on Wednesday.

"[This was] so that he can prepare himself to defend his integrity, reputation, and career," Cruywagen said.

He said it would be almost impossible for CSA, which had acquitted Majola, to now call him to a disciplinary hearing.

"To be fair to Majola it's conceivable that the CSA board must disband and a new one elected if Majola is to be assured of a fair hearing. How can the same people who'd acquitted him now be expected to try him again? This is illogical," Cruywagen said.

There would be a severe crisis if CSA implemented this part of Nicholson's recommendation, he said.

"Majola has been hurt and angered by Judge Nicholson's imputation that there had been criminal intent on his part. Judge Nicholson gave no evidence to back this up." Cruywagen said Nicholson had ignored earlier reports by both KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.

"If this eminent company found no wrong-doing, the judge should have taken cognisance of their findings and not ignored it," he said.

In Nicholson's report he recommended that the SA Revenue Service (SARS) be approached and asked to examine the Section 21 status of CSA, and ascertain whether CSA was complying with the tax exempt status conditions established. A Section 21 company is non profit-making.

Cruywagen said SARS had done an audit which covered the tax years between 2006 and 2011, and gave the findings to CSA.

"There was no adverse finding on CSA's legal status as a taxable Section 21 company," he said.

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