CSA facing costly battle to recover IPL bonuses

Johannesburg: Cricket South Africa (CSA) is gearing up for a long and costly battle to recover the Indian Premier League (IPL) season-2 bonuses that now suspended chief executive Gerald Majola paid to himself and about 40 other CSA staff members without informing the board.

Majola is facing internal disciplinary action as well as possible criminal charges over his failure in respect of fiduciary duties, following on the recommendations of the Nicholson inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA, instituted by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The Minister has insisted that the R1.8 million that Majola paid to himself and R1.4 million to former CSA chief operating officer, Don McIntosh be recovered by CSA.

The bonuses were for the IPL 2, which was hurriedly arranged in South Africa by Majola and then IPL supremo Lalit Modi due to security concerns around elections at that time in India.

But recovering the total of more than R4.7 million from all the affected CSA staff could take up to two years and cost CSA more than half that amount, including the costs of his disciplinary hearing which is expected to get under way later this month.

Junaid Banoobhai, a director at law firm Bowman Gilfillan, explained the reason for the possible long process to the daily Business Day.

"They would have to establish that those payments were made outside of the remuneration structure and were therefore not authorised expenditure. I would think this is more than likely going to end up in the high court. Barring settlement negotiations, it could take 12 to 16 months or longer, perhaps as much as 24 months," Banoobhai told the daily.

Banoobhai said it would be a complex case as the courts decide on what structures were in place at CSA and whether those were complied with.

Majola could not be reached for comment, but McIntosh told the daily that he would not voluntarily repay his bonus, which he received as director of the IPL 2 tournament.

"I need to be convinced that there is a basis (to demand its return) because all bonuses I have ever received have been in good faith, as determined and approved by the chief executive," McIntosh said.