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Majola cleared over bonus payments

Firdose Moonda

November 19, 2010

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Gerald Majola and Lalit Modi at a press conference announcing that South Africa will host the second season of the IPL, Johannesburg, March 24, 2009
Gerald Majola has been cleared of any wrongdoing but warned about repeating his mistakes © Associated Press
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Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), has been cleared of all charges of financial impropriety relating to bonus payments from the 2009 Indian Premier League and travel expenses for him and his wife. However, he has been formally cautioned that all future payments received by him from outside CSA must be reported to the body's remunerations committee (REMCO) and he will have to pay back the travel costs of his children.

Majola and 39 other staff members' bonuses, that were paid out after the successful second season of the IPL, were being investigated by a CSA internal commission of inquiry because they did not go through REMCO. Instead, the amounts were picked up by the board's auditors Deloitte who reported irregularities in the body's financial statements in August. After initially announcing that the payments would be probed externally, CSA decided to move the commission in-house and vice president AK Khan chaired proceedings.

CSA was criticised for a lack transparency after moving the investigation in-house but they attempted to ensure independence by including two external members as part of their review committee. Attorney Yusuf Dockrat and Advocate N Cassim assisted Khan, John Bester (Chairperson of CSA's Finance Committee) and John Blair (Chairperson of CSA's Audit Committee). The committee made their findings pubic at a press conference on Friday in Johannesburg.

The committee found that Majola had received bonuses from the IPL and ICC Champions Trophy of R1 775 143 (US $253 591), equivalent to eight times his annual salary for the 2009 and 2010 financial year. The amount were processed through CSAs payroll and taxed but not through REMCO, as a result of precedents set in previous non-CSA events, particularly the 2007 World Twenty20.

"The treatment of the fund as separate from CSA… is not ideal. It undermines the purpose of good governance and provides fertile ground for accusations of impropriety," said the report. However it found that REMCO should have been aware of the bonuses because they were recorded in CSA's books. Khan said: "Nothing before us suggests that there was deliberate concealment of the event bonuses."

The committee noted that Majola was "naïve in matters of this nature" and in future he will have to ensure that any event bonuses are also signed off by a member of REMCO. "Majola made an error of judgement," Khan said. "He will be taken through processes to make sure this does not happen again."

Also under the spotlight was more than half a million rand (US$71,428) in travel costs incurred by Majola and his family. The investigations found that Majola was well under the board's budget for his travel of R1.4 million (approx US$200,000) with the cost for him and his wife coming to R629000 (US$89,857) although Majola will have to pay back R28,169 (US$4,024 which was paid for his children.

Bester said that Majola wife's travel costs, which came under scrutiny after a leaked report to the Sunday Times newspaper allegedly authored by CSA president Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka mentioned them, can be covered by CSA. "As CEO you have the special privilege of your spouse accompanying you. He acted within the constraints of his contract and did not abuse the system."

The leaked report also brought to the fore what insiders claim are a "very strained relationship" between Majola and Nyoka. An unhappy looking Nyoka was present at Friday's press conference and would not be drawn on whether he was satisfied with the committee's work. "The commission has had the opportunity to listen to submissions from various parties and they have come to a decision," he said. "We must respect that."

Majola and Nyoka have appeared to be at loggerheads since Nyoka was chairman of the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) at the turn of the millennium. In 2002, Nyoka resigned from his post at the GCB after unsuccessfully challenging then United Cricket Board (UCB) president Percy Sonn for his position.

Nyoka returned to cricket in 2005, as chair of a 22-man steering committee that was set up to run the GCB. His role to assist in mediating between warring clubs who were up in arms over the lack of transformation in the province. He was elected President of CSA in October 2008 and Khan rejected rumours of a vote of no confidence in Nyoka. "Doctor Nyoka is our president and he was elected to occupy that post for the next two years."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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