Done…but not dusted

Thank goodness CSA chief executive Gerald Majola has been cleared of all charges of financial mismanagement. Not guilty – thankfully. The last thing the game needs is another scandal. This one is now officially closed. Or is it?

It does sound odd that the game’s most important administrator can be “formally cautioned” and told to repay money that he had no right to spend and yet be officially “not guilty” on all charges.

AK Khan, who chaired the internal inquiry, said that his boss had merely been “naïve” and guilty of no more than an “error of judgement.” We all make mistakes, of course, but these are not qualities one would choose for the CSA’s man in charge.

But Colin Beggs, former chairman of CSA’s Audit Committee, Paul Harris, former chairman of Remco and Hentie van Wyk, former chairman of CSA’s Finance Committee, appear to feel strongly that their former boss still has more questions to answer.

In a joint statement the three men said they were “…dismayed at the press reports of the decision taken (to clear Majola) at the board meeting…because it appears to be at odds with the facts and information available to us.”

“In the absence of a detailed forensic audit by the auditors of the relevant expenses, which would take a matter of days, and which we repeatedly recommended, it is difficult to see how any credible conclusions can be reached in respect of the alleged financial irregularities,” they said.

In a remarkable coincidence, all three financial heavyweights were voted off the board at CSA’s annual general meeting in August. However, it would also appear that merely removing the men from the room does not, in fact, get rid of them.

“Legally we remain accountable for what happened on our watch,” the statement said.

It is the use of the term “legally” which ought to raise eyebrows at CSA. The obvious inference is that a crime may have been committed rather than merely a civil misdemeanour. The three men would surely be happy to walk away and leave CSA alone if it was merely a question of squabbling about ‘procedure’ or whether a long weekend at Sun City did, in fact, constitute official business.

And sure enough, the statement mentions that concern.

“A director/officer having an interest in a contract in which the company of which he or she is a director is involved, is required to make a detailed declaration of such interest in full and receive approval or not from the Board. Failure to do so is an offence in terms of the Companies Act.”

Apparently, messing with the Companies Act is the kind of thing that gets men in suits and ties put away for a couple of years. If proven.

Gerald Majola has been a very, very good chief executive for Cricket South Africa. His most important attribute has always been that he has been a players’ man and has always recognised the importance of a happy and settled national team because that is the greatest national asset. It is no coincidence that the team has had its greatest successes during his stewardship and he cannot be blamed for manipulating the board to contain only men who share his point of view. Chief executives the world over are not in the habit of appointing men who question them and their procedures.

But similarly, chief executives cannot carry on having everything their own way all the time. For the good of cricket, and his own reputation, Majola would be well served by his ‘yes men’ if they advised him to sort this mess out properly.



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