End of the innings comes for Majola

2012-03-10 18:37

The chop could come for Gerald Majola as early as next Wednesday, when the executive committee of Cricket South Africa (CSA) meets in Johannesburg to discuss his dismissal and possible successors.

City Press has been reliably informed that the emergency meeting was called barely an hour after Judge Chris Nicholson announced his damning findings following a four-month inquiry into the alleged mismanagement by Majola, CSA’s longest-serving CEO.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to brief president Jacob Zuma on the matter tomorrow.

On Tuesday Mbalula, who set up and instituted the inquiry in November to look into the affairs of CSA, is expected to make an announcement on which of Nicholson’s recommendations will be enforced on CSA.

After CSA’s failure to implement certain recommendations by auditing firm KPMG, the ball is now in Mbalula’s court to act and failure to do so would reduce the inquiry to a futile exercise and be tantamount to a waste of taxpayer’s money.

“The KPMG report recommended that CSA should seek legal advice from senior counsel. Both Advocates Azhar Bham SC and Paul Pretorius SC endorsed the fact that the allegations against Majola were serious and that he had contravened the Companies Act, by failing to carry out his fiduciary duty to disclose to CSA all matters relevant to the said bonuses. Pretorius concluded that Majola should face a disciplinary hearing,” said Nicholson.

However, the CSA board gave Majola a slap on the wrist.

The country’s cricket head has been fighting for survival since it was revealed in August 2010 that he and close on 40 other employees received millions of rands of unauthorised bonuses for hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament and the Champions’ Trophy in 2009.

Nicholson found there was “overwhelming evidence” that Majola had contravened the Companies Act. He recommended that he should not only be suspended for a period of 180 days and should appear before a disciplinary committee, but that the National Prosecuting Authority should also look into the possibility of criminal charges against him.

Majola himself was at a meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai when Nicholson announced his findings at Loftus on Friday.

In his absence, CSA’s management committee will call for legal advice on Wednesday on how to get rid of him, but it has apparently already been agreed in principle that he should be immediately suspended, should face a disciplinary hearing and be criminally charged.

This is a surprising turnaround, since the core of the committee – acting president AK Khan and CSA cricket committee head Andy O’ Connor – have in the past squarely supported Majola.

The controlling body’s executive is also planning to meet this week – despite the fact that CSA said the day before yesterday that it would only respond to the Nicholson report by April 9.

This executive has come to Majola’s rescue three times already, but has now apparently finally turned against this official from the Eastern Cape and will insist on his resignation.

Mbalula studied the report last week and met with several Government officials and legal experts. According to City Press’s sources, it’s unlikely that Majola will actually serve a prison sentence, but will probably have to pay a stiff fine and possibly have to repay his approximately R1,8m bonus to CSA.

Meanwhile, the search for a possible successor is going ahead full steam. CSA is apparently very interested in Haroon Lorgat, whose term as International Cricket Council CEO ends in June.

Lorgat (51) was formerly the Proteas’ head selector, but his term at the head of world cricket was overshadowed by, among other things, the fiasco at the final of the 2007 World Cup tournament in Barbados, the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in March 2009 and the match-fixing scandal for which three Pakistani players last year received prison sentences.

The name of North-West Cricket Union head Jacques Faul has already been touted as a temporary replacement until a full-time appointment is made.

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