Pretoria: Cricket South Africa executives could have been getting "unauthorised" bonuses even before receiving the controversial payments for hosting IPL`s 2009 season currently the subject of an inquiry ordered by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, a former CSA Board member has claimed.
Former chairman of the Remuneration Committee of the CSA Board, Paul Harris, made the claim on the first day of open hearings at the inquiry headed up by Judge Chris Nicholson.
The hearing was closed to the media when it started on Wednesday, but Nicholson later moved it to a bigger venue and allowed them access.
Harris had blown the whistle on huge bonuses that CSA paid to CEO Gerald Majola and other executives without the sanction of the Board for IPL II which was hosted in South Africa two years ago due to security concerns in India at that time because of elections.
Harris was subsequently dropped from the Board. Harris told the inquiry that similar unauthorised payments could have started already when the Twenty20 World Cup was hosted in South Africa in 2007. He said the director of the tournament Steve Elworthy, who has since left CSA, got a bonus for the event.
"The money was meant to come to CSA and then be dispersed. I believe that it created a precedent of non-disclosure of payments," Harris said.
The former head of remuneration at the CSA board also gave details of how, despite a recommendation by his committee that bonuses for staff members be capped at three times their monthly salaries, and for executives at 25 per cent of their previous year`s salary.
Majola got a bonus eight times his annual salary and former COO Don McIntosh received six times his monthly salary.
Majola also had an annual travel allowance of one million rands, which Harris said could "only be described as ridiculous and would never have been approved by (the remuneration committee)."
The hearing heard that while the Board of Control for Cricket in India had paid CSA 3.8 million rands for staff bonuses, only 2.7 million had been dispersed.
The minister instituted the inquiry after almost two years of in-fighting in CSA which saw its President Mtutuzeli Nyoka, who queried the bonuses, twice removed from office and sponsors withdrawing their support.
Mbalula had requested the inquiry to deliver its findings before Christmas, but Nicholson indicated earlier that the Committee may require more time.