Impeached Evans cries foul

2013-03-09 17:13
James Evans (File)

Johannesburg - Athletics South Africa (ASA) president James Evans said he was not given an opportunity to defend himself against allegations which led to his impeachment on Saturday.

"I was being denied to be there while Ramaala organised plane tickets for some delegates," Evans said.

"This made it impossible for me to be there to defend myself."

Evans was impeached by the ASA board at a special general meeting (SGM) in Johannesburg on Saturday.

His impeachment follows accusations that he made payments to himself from ASA's coffers, entered into various agreements and settlements with ASA staff without the board's knowledge, and instructed the chief financial officer to make payments without the board's authority.

The embattled administrator said the provisions within the Companies Act and the ASA constitution was not followed after he had asked for the matter to be referred to arbitration.

He said his call for arbitration was ignored and any decision taken at the meeting could not be enforced.

ASA vice-president Hendrick Ramaala on Saturday said 33 of the delegates voted for impeachment and one against while four abstained.

Ramaala could not say with certainty that he would be replacing Evans in an acting role, however, he believed this to be the case.

Before Saturday's meeting Ramaala said an independent tribunal into the allegations against Evans would be held.

Ramaala could not say when the board would meet to set up and appoint the head of such a tribunal.

"There must be an independent tribunal to test the allegations, which will be decided by the board," he said.

Ramaala said another SGM would be held to elect a replacement for Evans.

"In the future there will be another special general meeting to choose a new leader," Ramaala said.

Evans said he received phone calls from some provinces complaining that representatives at the meeting did not follow the mandate given to them.

While Evans believed he could challenge the decision via a legal route, he said he would only compound the federation's financial woes through legal costs.

"There are legal avenues, but my understanding is that a number of provinces would call for the SGM to be reconvened and be handled in the correct way," he said.

"This is the preferred route as any other way would be unnecessary and bad for the sport.

Evans' impeachment follows in the wake of a long line of issues surrounding the federation.

The embattled athletics body had been hit by financial trouble in recent years, losing all major corporate sponsors.

In October, ASA fired CEO Frik Vermaak for mismanagement of funds, among other allegations, but Vermaak appealed the findings of his disciplinary hearing and the case was settled out of court.

Two months later, ASA appointed a committee to address its financial crisis in an effort to service its R4.3 million debt.

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam, said last month the governing body would step in to assist athletes while ASA attempted to mend its financial problems.

Amid all the ructions surrounding ASA, the federation announced on Wednesday it had finalised a one-year deal with the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Evans said the decision to impeach him only caused further instability to ASA and risked the loss of potential sponsors.

"Agreements with potential sponsors that we were close to signing could be lost and there is a good chance of creditors filing for liquidation ASA," he said.

Read more on:    asa  |  james evans  |  athletics

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