Sooklal 'paid' to oust Nyoka

2012-02-08 12:43
Mtutuzeli Nyoka (Gallo)
Johannesburg - A Cricket South Africa official claims he was sent around the country to lobby provincial cricket bosses to oust CSA president and anti-corruption crusader Mtutuzeli Nyoka, a report said on Wednesday.

The claim by Ajay Sooklal, chair of CSA's legal committee, comes after the embattled organisation's board accused him of wrongfully billing CSA for more than R600 000 in expenses for work it said should have been done in his capacity as a board member.

Sooklal told The New Age newspaper he had incurred the expenses as part of a nationwide campaign to lobby provincial affiliates to oust then-president Nyoka, and that the payments had been authorised by Nyoka's arch-rival, chief executive Gerald Majola.

"I was tasked with going around the country with (board member) Ray Mali and persuading the 11 affiliates to vote out Nyoka," said Sooklal.

CSA's board fired Nyoka last year for insisting the organisation take action on what he alleged were corrupt bonus payments to Majola and other staff.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula in November launched a commission of inquiry into the allegations.

The commission, headed by judge Chris Nicholson, has been hearing testimony from cricket officials and is expected to deliver its report soon.

Sooklal said CSA's board was grilling him on his expense claims to punish him for making damning submissions to the Nicholson inquiry.

"This is part of the dirty campaign to malign my name for what I said at the cricket hearing. This is ludicrous," he told The New Age.

Majola meanwhile accused Sooklal of waging a smear campaign.

"This has nothing to do with me. It is a matter between the CSA board and Ajay Sooklal. My name is deliberately being dragged in so that people can get tired of me and force me out," he told The New Age.

He said he had signed off on Sooklal's expenses as a routine administrative matter.

An independent audit by accounting firm KPMG said Majola had secretly received four bonuses totalling more than four million rand for the 2009 season and broken South African corporate law on four occasions.

The feud between Majola and Nyoka, one-time friends and former teammates, has tarnished CSA's image and seen it struggle to find sponsors.

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