Cricket SA admits to changing terms of reference of the investigation into the embattled organisation

06 October 2020 - 12:14
By Tiisetso Malepa
Beresford Williams was vice-president when CSA changed the terms of reference.
Image: OJ Koloti/Gallo Images Beresford Williams was vice-president when CSA changed the terms of reference.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has for the first time admitted that they changed the terms of reference of the forensic investigation into the organisation and focused it into erstwhile CEO Thabang Moroe.

The decision ensured that the forensic investigation absolved the board from any wrongdoing.

In an internal memo circulated in July that TimesLIVE has seen‚ the CSA board proposed that the Members’ Council – the highest decision-making body made up of the 12 affiliates‚ including the president and vice-president - considers and ratifies the board’s decision to request the forensic consultant‚ Fundudzi Forensic Services‚ to "provide the board with certain information/reports related to the conduct of certain CSA management team members‚ to the exclusion of any information/reports related to the investigation of the conduct of the board and members' council as envisaged by the terms of reference".

The legality of the changing of the terms of reference cast doubt at the time on whether the board is prepared to accept responsibility for its part in the administrative bungling that took place in the lead up to Moroe’s suspension on December 5.

The changing of the terms of reference meant the forensic investigation company furnished the board with information/reports related to Moroe and the executive management team's misconduct‚ and not the role the board might or might not have played during the former CEO's tenure.

Chris Nenzani‚ who resigned as board chairperson and president in August‚ furiously refused to respond to TimesLIVE questions in July with regard to the changes of the terms of reference.

"Where did you get that? Since you've got them‚ you need to ask the person who provided you with that document because it had nothing to do with you.

"It was sent to specific people for specific reasons. It had nothing to do with you‚" an incensed Nenzani said.

"The person who gave you that document needs to explain it to you. You can't be getting information from your moles and come to confirm it with me.

"We didn't give you that document on purpose because we know why we've done so. It had nothing to do with the media‚ but everything to do with us.

“There's no reason for me to respond to questions regarding the resolution when you didn't get it from me."

But CSA‚ for the first time after months of denials‚ admitted in parliament on Tuesday that they changed the terms of reference.

“The terms of reference of the Forensic Investigation were amended to permit the forensic investigator to provide the board with certain information/report chapters related to the conduct of certain members of the CSA management team‚ but excluding any information related to the investigation of the conduct of the board and the Members Coucil‚” the CSA delegation presented.

“This was done to expedite the matter of the suspended CEO who had been under precautionary suspension for 8 (eight) months.

“The terms of reference were not amended to absolve the board from being investigated.”

CSA independent director Marius Schoeman said there are risks inherent in uncontrolled release of the forensic report.

“The terms of reference required that the forensic report be submitted to the audit and risk committee.

“The report was submitted to the 3 (three) independent directors serving in the audit and risk committee whose tenure did not overlap with the period under investigation to ensure that no incidences of conflict of interest would arise in the management and implementation of the findings and recommendations‚” said Schoeman on Tuesday.

“Following extensive legal advise and in accordance with the primary duty of directors to act in the best interest of the company‚ the risks associated with the uncontrolled public release of the forensic report have serious and far reaching legal implications for CSA‚ which could lead to CSA being embroiled in costly litigation.

“This was to be weighed against the need for transparency.

“As a result‚ protocols in terms of which stakeholders‚ including the CSA members council and Sascoc‚ could access the forensic report‚ were effected and are in place to protect CSA (and parties referred to in the forensic report) from harm.”

CSA said the board has considered the disclosure of the report to various stakeholders and taken decisions on the disclosure of the forensic report in the interests of the beleaguered body‚ having taken advice from the subcommittee of the audit and risk committee that Schoeman is the chairperson of.

”The organisation said the board‚ under advise of external legal firm considered the difficult balance to be struck between preventing the harm that may arise to CSA from the publication and possible dissemination of the forensic report‚ and ensuring that key stakeholders have sufficient access to the information in the forensic report to ensure that they have sufficient information to make decisions that are relevant to CSA‚ and to hold the board accountable for taking the necessary action to investigate and implement the findings in the forensic report.