CSA inquiry to spill over into 2012

Friday, 9 December 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

THE ministerial committee of inquiry into the affairs of Cricket SA will need more time to make its findings, with more hearings expected to be held when the inquiry continues next month.

The inquiry is expected to hear more revelations next year as more witnesses are expected to be called in, including former United Cricket Board boss Dr. Ali Bacher.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, committee head Judge Chris Nicholson said it would be impossible to meet the deadline of this month set by Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula.  The commission concluded the hearing of oral submissions from role players over the last few weeks, which saw grim revelations about the affairs of the cricket body.  The committee was appointed by Mbalula to look into CSA’s administration and the payment of bonuses to senior staff. Some of those making oral submissions included former CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka and the man at the centre of the scandal, chief executive Gerald Majola. On Tuesday, an emotional Majola claimed ignorance of the Companies Act he had broken. He has been fingered for failing to declare to CSA’s remunerations board a R 1.7 million bonus he received from the Indian Premier League tournament. Judge Nicholson said the committee would analyse more than 5000 pages of written and oral submissions made during the hearings before making recommendations to Mbalula.

The committee would go beyond the bonus scandal and “assist the minister” with regards to irregularities and mismanagement at CSA, said Judge Nicholson. He also implied that the committee had been restricted by the nature and terms of reference of the inquiry as it could not cross-examine witnesses. “In this instance we were denied the ‘engine of truth’. We were given different versions of what happened at CSA and, in the end, we will say to the minister which versions we prefer,” said Judge Nicholson.  He said that even though the committee would make recommendations to Mbalula, the minister was not obliged to accept them.

“Even the minister’s powers of enforcement of our recommendations are limited in terms of various statutes, but we certainly hope that the power of public opinion might influence what is eventually enforced,” said Nicholson.

The Sports Department’s director-general, Alec Moemi, said: “We see this inquiry as very important to restore the integrity of cricket, and also for the sponsors, as you (the media) are well aware that many have pulled out and they need confidence that their money is not going into officials’ pockets.”

The first sitting of the hearings next year is expected to take place on 16 January. (www.iol.co.sa)