South African cricket probe needs more time: Judge

Johannesburg: The inquiry ordered by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula into the affairs of Cricket South Africa (CSA), including alleged irregular IPL bonus payments, is not likely to be ready "by Christmas", as had been requested by Mbalula.

Retired judge Christopher Nicholson, appointed by the minister to head the inquiry in the wake of internal squabbling that twice ousted CSA President Mtutuzeli Nyoka, said the process may take longer than expected.

Nicholson said although his committee would work flat out to try to meet the deadline, more time may be required to avoid injustice to affected parties because of the mandate from the minister, which included investigations into alleged mismanagement, irregularities and the efficacy of existing control measures at CSA.

The judge said Mbalula had indicated that additional time would be granted if it was needed. Nicholson was also keen to hear from Nyoka, who initially questioned the R1.8 million IPL and Champions Trophy bonuses paid to CSA chief executive Gerald Majola and about 40 other CSA staff two years ago.

Nyoka was ousted in absentia after his call for an independent inquiry into the bonuses, but reinstated after high court action, when he instituted an external probe by auditors KPMG. The report, kept secret by CSA, is believed to have found Majola in breach of the Companies Act.

CSA gave Majola a reprimand and again ousted Nyoka after accusing him of bringing the body into disrepute.

Nyoka`s lawyer, Bernard Matheson, said the former would cooperate with the Nicholson inquiry, although he had no intention of trying to get his position back.

Matheson said that although the terms of reference of the inquiry were broad, he did not believe it extended to recommending Nyoka`s reinstatement.

The public, CSA officials and any other interested parties can make written submission to the committee before November 21, after which Nicholson and the two other committee members will begin interviewing stakeholders.


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