April 20, 2002

Eastern Province board member suspended for fraud

In yet another blow to the credibility of the Eastern Province Cricket Board, one of the union's board members, Rajan Moodaley, has been found guilty of fraud at a United Cricket Board disciplinary hearing and suspended from cricket for one year.

The EPCB has been the cause of deep concern for South African cricket this season, with allegations of administrative mismanagement and claims that some board members have been actively working to undermine the position of chief executive Dave Emslie.

Moodaley, who was chairman of the EP Scorers Association, was found to have submitted fraudulent claims for acting as a scorer during the one-day international between Kenya and India in October and the Test match between South Africa and India in November.

Moodaley claimed an amount of R4 800 from the South African Cricket Scorers Association, but the disciplinary hearing, chaired by Michael Kuper SC, found that Moodaley had not officiated in either match. Moodaley has been suspended from all cricketing activities for a year and must repay the amount of R4 800 within three months.

"This conduct is a serious lapse in the integrity of a person occupying a very senior position in cricket administration. It compromises the financial probity of the UCB and puts the administration of cricket in a poor light. As such, it cannot be condoned and it is important that the UCB is seen to take a strong stand in cases like this," wrote Kuper in his report of the hearing.

The action against Moodaley seems the first step in an attempt by the UCB to put matters right at St George's Park. After the one-day international against Australia earlier this month, the UCB executive held a meeting with the EPCB board after persistent rumours of intrigue and backstabbing had surfaced.

It is known that the EP sponsors, SpecSavers, have been concerned with the state of affairs at St George's Park and recently called for a meeting with the EP board at which they insisted that proper administrative procedures be followed.

In the past two months, both coach Adrian Birrell and Dale Howarth, the chairman of the EP finance committee, have resigned in protest, it is understood, at the interference by board members in the running of the union.

The suspension of Moodaley comes into even sharper relief against the R12,8-million allocated to St George's Park to upgrade the ground for next year's World Cup semi-final. Moodaley was a member of the EP World Cup marketing committee although there has been no suggestion of any impropriety in the workings of this committee.

A spokesman for the World Cup Organising Committee, Rodney Hartman, said on Saturday that: "St George's Park has been a concern for us because of the large amount of work that has to be done there to upgrade the ground for the World Cup semi-final. We would obviously want the EP administration to run as smoothly as possible."