08 Oct

A report into misconduct committed by Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials has found that Global Sports Commerce (GSC), the governing body’s commercial and international media rights agency for its Mzansi Super League (MSL) T20 competition, failed to pay its rights fee for the 2019 edition and reached a settlement with CSA earlier this summer.

Instead the report from the South Africa-based Fundudzi Forensic Services found that GSC offered a settlement payment of $1.16m to CSA in May this year. If that settlement was paid as agreed, the audit report says that the 2019 MSL would have posted a loss of about R12.4m ($750,000).

The report names CSA’s former chief executive Thabang Moroe and former chief financial officer Naasei Appiah as the individuals primarily responsible for the governing body’s mismanagement of commercial rights related to the MSL since its inception in 2018. CSA reached a five-year commercial and international media rights agreement with GSC covering the Mzansi Super League only, from 2018 to 2022.

The report claims that GSC’s non-payment and the resulting settlement is a direct result of Moroe, Appiah and the CSA Board of Directors’ combined failure to ensure GSC provided a bank guarantee before the deal was signed. The deal was approved without one despite the warnings of the IMG agency, CSA’s commercial rights advisor. The report said Moroe and Appiah both failed to act “with a degree of care and skill” in relation to their dealings with GSC.

The report also found that a CSA tender to find a broadcast production partner for the MSL, from 2019 to 2022, was improperly conducted. It said that CSA afforded GSC an unfair advantage in the tender and that the resulting production agreement between CSA and GSC was agreed in private negotiations prior to the bid deadline.

Furthermore, it is claimed that the tender incorrectly informed prospective bidders that GSC held the right to match any bid for production contract for the period 2019 to 2022, despite this not actually being the case.

“Moroe was aware or ought to have known that 2018 Production Agreement between CSA and GSC did not include any matching rights clause,” the report said. “The appointment of GSC outside the RFP [request for proposal] processes based on a non-existent clause posed a risk of litigation by the unsuccessful bidders as well as reputational damage.”

An offer for production services from GSC worth R30m ($1.8m) over the four years from 2019 to 2022 was accepted. The report found that Moroe had no intention of awarding the contract to any other bidder.

Both Moroe and Appiah were fired earlier this year for varying degrees of misconduct detailed in the report, only some of which is related to dealings with GSC. The pair were also found to have signed off on a deal worth about $200,000 with a company named only as ‘Service Provider X’. The report said the company was hired to secure ‘revenue agreements’ that would bring in R60m ($3.614m) per year for CSA, however no evidence of any such agreements or services were found and  the report recommended that a criminal case should be opened against Moroe under South Africa’s Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

The claims in the report do not represent a legal ruling or findings of criminal wrongdoing.

In a statement carried by ESPNcricinfo, John Mogodi, a non-independent director on the board of CSA, said that the cricket board has not been able to “investigate, corroborate or clarify in its totality” the report as of yet.

Other misconduct attributed to Moroe and Appiah in the report included “excessive or irregular expenditure on alcohol” using CSA funds, totalling R266,203 ($16,134) between them.

John Stephenson


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