Cricket SA wrangle laid bare in court

Cricket SA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka has mounted a telling High Court assault on the CSA’s decision to back its chief executive, Gerald Majola, who quietly pocketed an Indian Premier League (IPL) bonus in 2009.

Nyoka was axed in February following a special general meeting, which he did not attend, where CSA affiliates voted 9-2 against him.

He has since applied to the South Gauteng High Court to overturn the decision and the matter was heard last month.

Nyoka’s lawyers say they expect judgment to be handed down shortly.

Affidavits filed by Nyoka and acting CSA president AK Khan reveal an acrimonious relationship between the parties, couched in dry details of corporate governance and in more bruising allegations.

Much of Nyoka’s application revolves around whether his dismissal was procedural.

He claims he was not given proper notice of the meeting on February 12 and that he learnt of his axing through the press.

Khan denies this.

But also central to the dispute is a board decision to abandon an external review, led by former Chief Justice Pius Langa, of bonuses paid to CSA officials by both the IPL and the International Cricket Council.

Instead, the board chose to institute an internal review led by Khan.

The review controversially cleared Majola of deliberate wrongdoing in accepting a R1.1-million IPL bonus, an outcome disputed by Nyoka and independent board members.

Nyoka claims in court papers that he was removed because he questioned Majola’s IPL bonus, demanded that it be investigated independently and rejected the findings of the Khan review as “patently unsatisfactory”.

He reveals that after the IPL in 2009 he recommended a bonus for Majola and congratulated him on the success of the event.

Nyoka then motivated for Majola to receive an “extraordinary bonus”, which the board agreed to.

However, Nyoka goes on to say that “at no stage did Majola mention he had already received a bonus from the IPL.

Had I known this I would most certainly not have made representations for an increased bonus for Majola”.

He said that the IPL bonus was evidence of “a serious breach of CSA’s corporate governance and required the convening of an independent, external inquiry and swift and severe action against Majola for his wrongdoing”.

Responding, Khan says Nyoka was fired because of his “lack of leadership”, that he was “hopelessly out of touch with the board” and management, his behaviour was erratic and he had a personal vendetta against Majola.

He claims that Nyoka initially endorsed the findings of the Khan review — although Nyoka denies this.

Then, following the announcement of the review’s findings, “[Nyoka] again inexplicably started criticising Majola and the issue relating to the bonus received by Majola was revived by him — His about turn was — strange if he had no personal agenda against Majola.”

Nyoka also launches a bruising attack on the presidents of the country’s provincial cricket unions, accusing them of trying to bury bad news to save face.

“I verily believe that the majority of the affiliate presidents were more concerned about avoiding exposure of illicit dealings and negative media reports that may be generated if irregularities were uncovered than the existence of irregularities themselves — it was a Pandora’s box that they were worried about opening,” Nyoka says.

This article was produced by amaBhungane, investigators of the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit initiative to enhance capacity for investigative journalism in the public interest.

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