Gerald Majola seeking audience with South Africa minister to block suspension

There has been no meeting scheduled with Majola to discuss the Judge Nicholson report Getty Images

Johannesburg: Mar 13, 2012

Embattled Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola is desperately seeking an audience with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula in an effort to stave off his suspension and investigation for possible criminal charges, according to reports here.

But Mbalula’s spokesman Paena Galane told The New Age daily that no meeting has been scheduled with Majola to discuss the Judge Nicholson report.

“The only meeting that is on the cards with the CSA concerns the India versus South Africa friendly match to be played this month and nothing else,” Galane said.

The Nicholson inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA recommended last Friday after a three-month sitting that the National Prosecuting Authority investigate possible criminal charges against Majola for being in breach of his fiduciary duties.

The inquiry was set up by Mbalula following two years of internal wrangling over huge IPL bonuses that Majola paid himself and other CSA staff without informing the board.

The second edition of the IPL was played in South Africa due to security concerns around elections at that time in India.

“I don’t want to challenge this report in public because that would be the same as challenging the minister,” Majola told The New Age on his return from an ICC meeting in Dubai.

CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka was twice dismissed in absentia after querying the IPL bonuses and calling for an independent investigation.

Following Nyoka’s return after court action, he arranged an independent inquiry by auditors KPMG who found Majola to have breached the Companies Act.

This has now been confirmed by the Nicholson inquiry, which recommended that Majola be suspended and that he face a disciplinary hearing.

“There is a prima facie case that Majola contravened sections 234, 235 and 236 of the Companies Act in that he had failed to disclose the said bonuses appropriated to him, former chief operations officer Don McIntosh and other senior members of staff,” the report said after hearing damning evidence against Majola from former and current CSA board members.

Nicholson rejected Majola’s tearful admission of naivet about his fiduciary duties during his testimony at the inquiry.

Admitting that the report had taken its toll on him, Majola remained adamant that he was innocent: “Everybody knows that I declared the money at a board meeting. The only thing I did not do was to put it in writing,” he told the daily.

“I have been involved in cricket administration for 12 years and I have never in my life faced a disciplinary committee,” Majola said.

The CSA management committee, which comprises Majola, acting president AK Khan and financial and commercial committee chairperson John Bester will meet tomorrow to discuss the report, which Majola said his lawyers were still studying.

Khan also did not emerge unscathed from the inquiry, which said an internal inquiry chaired by Khan that exonerated Majola was done in an attempt to protect Majola.

The full board of CSA will meet on Saturday, where there is expected to be fiery debate as the majority of the 11 provincial presidents are reported to be calling for Majola’s head, while Nyoka, who has been vindicated by the Nicholson inquiry, is calling for the complete dissolution of the CSA board. (PTI)