Cricket SA given ultimatum to release forensic investigation report or face High Court action

An aerial photograph of Potchefstroom cricket stadium in North West Province. Cricket clubs in the province are at loggerheads over a forensic investigation report into stadium upgrades irregularities that was submitted to Cricket South Africa in June 2019 but has not yet been released more than a year later. :
An aerial photograph of Potchefstroom cricket stadium in North West Province. Cricket clubs in the province are at loggerheads over a forensic investigation report into stadium upgrades irregularities that was submitted to Cricket South Africa in June 2019 but has not yet been released more than a year later. :
Image: Gallo Images

Embattled Cricket South Africa (CSA) have been issued with an ultimatum to release the forensic audit and investigation reports into alleged mismanagement of funds in relation to the stadium upgrades at North West Cricket (NWC) or face legal action on Tuesday August 25.

The ultimatum was made by Jaco Ebersohn‚ a former NWC acting CEO who was in charge for a brief stint during the R10m infrastructure development at Senwes Park stadium in Potchefstroom three years ago.

Ebersohn’s letter of demand was addressed to CSA acting CEO Kugandrie Govender‚ acting president Beresford Williams‚ company secretary Welsh Gwaza‚ including NWC CEO HP Prinsloo and Administrator Archie Pretorius.

The former NWC acting CEO resigned as acting from his role in October 2017 after a few months in the job and has not been involved with the provincial cricket body since then.

However‚ he was implicated in allegations of mismanagement of funds in the stadium projects that surfaced in June 2018 following his exit.

NWC subsequently decided to appoint a Potchefstroom-based auditing firm‚ Gericke Rademeyer‚ to conduct an investigation.

Ebersohn said he was never contacted or interviewed during the Gericke Rademeyer investigation and did not receive an outcome of the probe.

He said he also participated in another internal investigation conducted by external labour lawyer Deanne Howes of Howes Incorporated but again‚ he was not given an outcome of the probe.

As allegations of maladministration threatened to destroy the NWC finances and brand‚ CSA exercised their “step-in rights” in December 2018 and placed the union under administration.

CSA appointed former NWC president Pretorius as the Administrator and a forensic audit and investigation was conducted by Deloitte in January 2019.

The auditing firm submitted its findings and recommendations in June 2019.

Ebersohn took issue with a report in a Potchefstroom local newspaper which suggested that he was involved in the alleged maladministration during the stadium upgrades.

TimesLIVE also reported last month how an amount of over R2.2m meant for stadium upgrades at NWC was misappropriated‚ and how the governing body CSA allegedly knew of the missing funds for over a year but took no corrective or punitive action.

NWC received a total of R10m to upgrade their facilities but a forensic audit and investigation‚ conducted by Deloitte and seen by TimesLIVE‚ has uncovered that not all the money was used on the stadium project.

Sources within NWC told TimesLIVE that former CEO Vincent Prior allegedly used R1m meant for stadium upgrades for operational expenses such as paying staff salaries and bonuses.

The sources said the trend continued even after a period when Prior left and was replaced with Ebersohn.

The former acting CEO is mentioned in all three investigation reports of the alleged maladministration.

Ebersohn wants to clear his name and is now threatening CSA with legal action to share the forensic reports with him.

“You will appreciate the fact that our client has a direct vested interest in each of these reports and an obligation to obtain all three above-mentioned forensic reports to enable him to answer to the defamatory statements which were printed concerning his alleged conduct‚” lawyers acting on behalf of Ebersohn told CSA.

Ebersohn argues that he and NWC should have been furnished with the reports given that CSA received the Deloitte forensic report 14 months ago.

“Our client obviously‚ has the right of insight to the three forensic reports available‚ to enable him to answer to the allegations against him.

“We place on record that our clients suffers damages as a result of articles in newspapers as well as slanderous remarks‚ being thrown around regarding his alleged involvement with misappropriation of funds.

“We place on record that NWC as well as CSA‚ notwithstanding several requests‚ blatantly refuse to make these reports available.”

Ebersohn said the delay in releasing the reports is not only unfair towards him‚ but constitutes a contravention of the promotion of access to information act of 2000.

“We demand on behalf of our client that CSA and NWC furnish us with the Gericke report‚ the Howes report and the Deloitte report on or before 25 August 2020.

“Should the above mentioned reports not be made available to our client on or before 25 August 2020‚ our client will approach the High Court of South Africa without any further notice to obtain the same‚ costs thereof you will be held liable.

“Should it become necessary to take this matter to Court‚ our client will obviously have to grant an interview with national media‚ to try and set the record straight‚ pending litigation.”

CSA acting CEO Govender‚ who was this week elevated from her role as chief commercial officer to replace Dr Jacques Faul‚ said on Monday she is yet to be fully briefed on the NWC matter.

“I must admit my knowledge about these subjects is limited at this time. In my previous capacity as chief commercial officer‚ I have been removed from the conversations but in the forthcoming week‚ I hope to be brought fully up to speed on these and other issues‚” Govender told TimesLIVE.

“I would be happy to have a conversation with you thereafter‚ as I would be better able to provide you with information.”

Ebersohn confirmed on Monday afternoon that his lawyers had not heard from the CSA representatives at the time of publishing this article.

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