Ali Bacher ready to appear before cricket inquiry

Johannesburg: Former South African cricket supremo Ali Bacher on Thursday said that he is ready to appear before the inquiry committee looking into the financial affairs of Cricket South Africa.

As the inquiry instituted by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula adjourned on Wednesday until January, its chairman retired judge Chris Nicholson indicated that he would be keen to hear from Bacher, who headed the United Cricket Board of South Africa before it became Cricket South Africa (CSA).

Bacher, also a former South African national cricket side captain, was accused by CSA chief executive Gerald Majola during his testimony on Tuesday of having pocketed R5 million from R9 million received for hosting the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

Majola said Bacher set a precedent with this for future heads of the cricket authority to receive large bonuses, but Bacher has denied this, indicating that he had received R5 million as a top up to his retirement fund from the cricket authority.

"If it is Judge Nicholson`s wish to have me giving testimony, then, in the interest of the game which I love, I will gladly accept," Bacher told reporters.

The inquiry also wants to call more witnesses and has to consider written submissions of more than 5,000 pages before handing a final report to Mbalula, who had asked for it to be done by Christmas.

Nicholson said the report would only be ready by the end of February.

Mbalula set up the inquiry after almost two years of wrangling at CSA over large IPL-II bonuses that Majola paid to himself and other CSA officials without the knowledge of the board, as several former board members testified in the past two weeks.

Majola said during his appearance on Tuesday that he had made the board aware of the bonus, but had failed to confirm this in writing.

Majola has admitted to not complying with the requirements of the Companies Act, which an independent inquiry by auditors KPMG had found him to have breached. Nicholson`s report is keenly awaited as sponsors shy away from CSA and disgruntled fans call for a change in administration as cricket at developmental grassroot levels fails to progress.


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