CSA vice-president Williams implicated in alleged conflict of interest in Newlands upgrade

Cricket SA is investigating a conflict of interest complaint against vice-president Beresford Williams.
Cricket SA is investigating a conflict of interest complaint against vice-president Beresford Williams.
Image: OJ Koloti/Gallo Images

A scathing e-mail from former Cricket SA (CSA) board member Jack Madiseng to his then-president, Chris Nenzani, has punched more holes in the organisation’s alleged misconduct case against its suspended CEO, Thabang Moroe.

In the same e-mail, dated November 29 2019, Madiseng also formally reported a conflict of interest complaint on the part of CSA vice-president Beresford Williams.

At the height of the CSA fiasco late last year, a week before board chairperson Nenzani briefed the media on circumstances surrounding the suspension of Moroe, TimesLIVE can reveal that Madiseng sent an e-mail to the president and his deputy telling them to own responsibility for the “mess” in which the organisation found itself.

“Our brand is in a mess and your lack/poor leadership has misled the public to think that we, as the board, have fully empowered the CEO (Moroe) to independently make all decisions, which is wrong," Madiseng's e-mail reads.

“Since I joined the board in February 2019, most decisions have been made by the board and implemented by the CEO,” Madiseng wrote to both Nenzani and Williams, also copying company secretary Welsh Gwaza in the e-mail.

“If the CEO was accountable for making all these decisions, then I can proudly, without a shadow of a doubt say, it's time to 'fire/dismiss' the CEO.

“At the present moment, the people who should be fired should be the board or the president and the vice-president for poor/lack of leadership and lacklustre decision-making,” Madiseng wrote.

“Your non-visibility gave the media and the public a perception that the CEO unilaterally makes all the decisions, which is not true. We all know the CEO can't act without the mandate from both of you.

“Based on the above statement/challenges, who do we hold accountable for such own goals? In my humble opinion, I hold ourselves (the board) accountable, and not the CEO and his executive team,” said Madiseng.

“If someone had to be fired/dismissed, in all honesty, the 'entire board' should be fired/dissolved for 'rubbishing' the CSA's brand.”

The e-mail also formally reported a conflict of interest complaint against Williams.

The complaint alleges the vice-president was conflicted in a CSA partnership deal concluded with the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) for the infrastructure development at Newlands in Cape Town 

The complaint involves Iqbal Khan, a former CSA independent board member and chairperson of the finance and commercial committee (Fincomm), and WPCA independent director Mustaq Brey.

Khan resigned as an independent director on the eve of the suspension of Moroe in December, while Brey resigned from his independent directorship role at the WPCA last week.

Khan is allegedly chief operating officer at Brey’s company, Brimstone Investments Corporation, and the pair are listed as active directors together with 10 others.

It is alleged Khan failed to declare such a conflict, real or perceived, and persisted for a period of time, including but not limited to, a critical period when the WPCA applied for loans from CSA.

Khan, as CSA Fincomm boss, allegedly proceeded to recommend to the CSA board that loans be advanced to the WPCA without any declaration of a conflict of interest, real or perceived.

According to CSA's annual integrated report, the partnership between CSA and the WPCA is over the upgrade project of Newlands aimed at making the facility debt-free by 2040.

With an asset value of about R2bn, Newlands has the potential to generate net revenue of about R140m, according to the annual integrated report.

A 15-year lease, with another option to renew for another 45 years, has already been signed, and construction started in February to meet the January 2021 deadline set by the anchor tenant.

Madiseng also reported the alleged conflict to Fundudzi Forensic Services in May, a company appointed by CSA in March to conduct and audit and forensic investigations on the adherence to governance protocols on the part of executive management and the board.

“At the time of the proposal for CSA to partner with Western Province, CSA Fincomm comprised of the now vice-president, treasurer and the president of Boland [Williams] (which also sits on the Cobras Board,  which is made up of Western Cape, Boland and South Western Districts),” Madiseng said in his submissions to the forensic investigators on May 25.

“The partnership proposal (CSA and Western Cape) was pushed/driven by the CSA vice-president and the treasurer of the board, which in my humble opinion were conflicted due to the following: At the time of the proposal, the vice-president (Williams) was president of the WCA but sat in all meetings (board and CSA finance sub-committee) relating to the subject.

“He only recused himself at our recent board meeting at OR Tambo [airport]. Maybe the conflict has been declared according to clause 13 of our board charter and recorded in our minutes. This can only be proven by records in our minutes.”

CSA has already confirmed it has received the first part of the report from Fundudzi, and has committed to making parts of it public.

The organisation also confirmed on Thursday that Madiseng’s conflict of interest complaint against Williams formed part of the investigation. It said Fundudzi’s scope of work was not only focused on the vice-president.

“The issue of conflict of interest is part of the forensic investigation, and we cannot pre-empt its findings,” CSA executive consultant Michael Owen-Smith told TimesLIVE in a statement on Thursday.

- TimesLIVE

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