Saru CEO: Report will damage my reputation

2015-08-31 17:47
Jurie Roux. (Supplied)

Jurie Roux. (Supplied)

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Cape Town – South African Rugby Union (Saru) chief Jurie Roux believed his reputation would be damaged and he would suffer significant prejudice if a newspaper published a forensic audit report accusing him of fraud.

The Western Cape High Court heard an application by Beeld newspaper on Monday to be granted access to the KPMG report compiled by the University of Stellenbosch’s internal auditors.

Roux was the university's financial director between 2002 and 2010. He was also treasurer, and later chairperson, of the university’s rugby club.

According to Netwerk24, he was accused of transferring R35m without authorisation from the university’s reserve funds to various cost centres to which the Maties rugby club had access.

The draft forensic report was handed over to an independent external attorney firm for legal opinion and recommendations.

The university subsequently launched a claim for damages from him.

According to his heads of argument, Roux argued the report was protected from disclosure because of legal professional privilege, litigation privilege and/or confidentiality.

He believed he may be harmed if the report’s untested allegations, which he had not been given the opportunity to refute, were released.

The newspaper was relying on the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to get the report.

It stated the university was willing to hand over the report, but had not done so because of Roux’s persistent opposition.

It argued in court papers that none of Roux’s arguments were recognised in PAIA as a justifiable ground for objecting to the record's release.

It also submitted there was a clear public interest outweighing any harm Roux might suffer, as he was a "public figure with considerable influence" in rugby.

However, in his court papers, Roux's legal team argued there could not be any public interest in the matter, only the newspaper’s "prurience [desire or appetite] and sensationalism".

"All of the expenditure in issue represented legitimate and appropriately authorised expenses, all of which the university is liable for, and all of which was in the interests of the university," his heads of argument stated.

"In particular, Mr Roux did not derive any improper benefit from such funding."

The papers argued the report had no bearing "whatsoever" on the administration of rugby and no relevance to his current employment.

Last year, Roux’s contract with Saru was extended for five years.

Judge Owen Rogers reserved judgment on Monday and it was unclear when judgment would be handed down.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  saru  |  jurie roux  |  cape town

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