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CSA sack Majola as chief executive

Firdose Moonda

October 19, 2012

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Gerald Majola at Makhaya Ntini's retirement announcement , Johannesburg, November, 2010
Gerald Majola was found guilty of all nine charges © Gallo Images
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Gerald Majola, the suspended Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive, has been dismissed from the board with immediate effect. He was found guilty on all nine charges laid against him at his disciplinary hearing, most notably misconduct but also including accepting bonuses, not declaring them to the board and wrongdoing around travel claims. Majola's hearing took place without him after he withdrew from proceedings last week. He was invited to appear before chairperson Karel Tip for the decision on October 17 but chose not to. He had the option to make another appearance on Friday to present his version.

When Majola and his legal team didn't arrive, the disciplinary chairperson issued the findings on sanctions, which were accepted by the CSA. Majola has made an application to the country's Labour Court and will continue to pursue that avenue of recourse, although he is no longer employed by CSA while doing so.

The decision has thus brought to an end an almost three-year long saga which has centered on R4.7 million (then US$ 671,428) in bonuses that were paid to Majola and 39 other staff members after hosting the 2009 IPL in South Africa. Three separate investigations found that the money was not properly declared to the board and contravened principles of corporate governance.

Tip, who chaired Majola's disciplinary hearing, agreed. Although the matter is an internal one, he made his findings available to all because, "it is a matter of broad public interest." The 10-page document makes some strong statements about Majola's conduct, particularly in his role as CEO.

"An honest man would have been acutely aware of the fact that he was de facto concealing his own substantial bonus payment," states point 3.2 which deals with the IPL bonus obtained by Majola which did not pass through the CSA board or its remunerations committee. Instead, as 3.4 says, "the bonus transaction was dealt with in the accounts of CSA in a manner that was calculated to avoid its detection."

Apart from receiving the money, there was an also an issue around declaration, which Tip said Majola failed to do. His document points 3.6 and 3.7 cover that. "Despite many opportunities, Mr Majola failed to disclose the bonus when he had a clear and ongoing duty to do so," it reads. "Even worse, Mr Majola expressly lied about it, avowing more than once that he 'had not received a cent.'

Tip deduced that Majola's behaviour had adversely affected cricket's reputation. In the last point, 3.9, on the bonuses he wrote. "In general, his conduct in relation to the bonuses, his continued denial of any wrongdoing, his active part in events that have brought disruption and division within cricket, and his avoidance of a prompt resolution of the matter through due and prescribed processes, have materially contributed to bringing CSA - and the sport of cricket in this country - into disrepute."

As proof of this, Tip heard testimony confirming that throughout the 2011-12 season, CSA struggled to secure sponsors. A T20 and ODI series against Australia and the domestic one-day competition was played without corporate backing. CSA's standing fell severely which led Tip to 5.6. "In general, the CEO is the public face of the organisation. He has to project and uphold the integrity and character of CSA. Mr Majola has done the opposite and this has dealt a heavy blow to CSA and to cricket."

What ended Majola's case is that he never admitted to any wrongdoing, nor did he show any understanding of it. In point 15, Tip said, "It is also so that Mr Majola has at no stage shown any remorse or contrition in respect of his conduct. He has given no indication of which I am aware that he has appreciated the true nature of his conduct and, likewise, he has evidently not accepted any wrongdoing on his part. As a result, a prolonged and corrosive situation of uncertainty has been in place at CSA. As the CEO he had a duty to prevent that."

Tip concluded that "these factors too weigh against any prospect that a properly functioning employment relationship could be resumed," between Majola and CSA and so, his sanction was that Majola should be fired. CSA have implemented the sanction and will also continue with their civil case to recover the bonus from Majola. Only Majola and former COO Don McIntosh are being asked to pay back their bonuses, while the rest of the staff will not face any claim.

CSA will also now have to appoint a new CEO. Their AGM will be held on Saturday, October 27 when they will finalise their new board structure. Earlier this week, they announced the five independent directors who will sit on the board. At the meeting the five provincial presidents who will accompany them will be voted in. Acting CEO Jacques Faul will continue the role while the job is advertised. He, along with former ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat, are believed to be the front runners for the position.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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