Rugby

More arrests in Maties rugby money saga?

12 May 2019 - 00:00 By KHANYISO TSHWAKU and LIAM DEL CARME

SA Rugby is still standing by its CEO Jurie Roux, who is being sued by the University of Stellenbosch for alleged misappropriation of R37m while he worked at the university.
The lawsuit, which has so far taken 10 years, was due to be heard in the Western Cape High Court tomorrow, but on Friday it was postponed indefinitely.
Roux is being sued, along with Chris de Beer. Both men were employed by the university at the time of the transfer of the money from the university's reserve account to the rugby club. Roux was the rugby club's director of finance from 2002 to 2010 and De Beer was a deputy director of student fees at the university.
De Beer was fired by the university in 2013 and appeared in court last month charged with fraud. He will appear again on May 27.
Captain Philani Nkwalase of the Hawks, who are investigating the allegations against De Beer, said more arrests could not be ruled out.
'WAIT AND SEE'
Nevertheless, the president of SA Rugby, Mark Alexander, said Roux was innocent until proven otherwise.
"We took our position to senior counsel and they advised us that the position SA Rugby had taken was correct," he said.
"We will wait and see and make a statement once things change. He [Roux] must continue working and deliver good service to us.
"Only if things change will we make different decisions."
University of Stellenbosch spokesperson Martin Viljoen would not comment on the "administrative reasons and the time constraints" that led to the hearing of the lawsuit being postponed.
Roux's legal representative, Frikkie Erasmus, would not give reasons for the postponement.
Roux, meanwhile, said in an affidavit that the money channelled from the university to the club was not for his personal benefit.
"I never took any money from the university [apart from my salary and benefits], let alone R37m," he said.
He said the university's expert report confirmed this.
"The university hasn't lost the R37m it's claiming from me. It appears from the case presented by the university, as well as the university's own documentation and expert report, that the money, which the university is claiming from me, was spent on legitimate university expenses, incurred by, and for, the benefit of the university."
Roux worked closely with De Beer, who was fired after a forensic audit of the money transfer. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) subsequently took over the investigation.
Nkwalase, the Hawks spokesperson, said De Beer was the only person who had been arrested and charged.
"We cannot at this stage rule out more arrests," Nkwalase said.
WITHOUT APPROVAL
In a KPMG report that Sunday Times has in its possession, Roux and De Beer are accused of transferring R35m from the university's reserve account into the club's account, of which R21m was transferred for general use by rugby while R14m was used for general expenditure and bursaries.
According to the report, the funds were not disclosed to the university's council and they were done without approval from Maties Sport or the university's finance department. Roux was able to reallocate the funds.
The report said it had not identified that Roux had any direct personal benefit from the reallocated funding initiated by him.
Alexander's predecessor, Oregan Hos-kins, would not comment, saying the matter was sub judice.
Hoskins oversaw Roux's contract extension in 2014 and recommended that Roux be suspended until the matter was resolved. Hoskins's action, however, set off a chain of events that led to him resigning in 2016...

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