Why does no­body care about Jurie Roux­gate?

CityPress - - Voices - Adriaan Bas­son voices@ city­press. co. za

As an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist, I’ve of­ten been ac­cused of fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on so-called black cor­rup­tion. The crit­ics con­ve­niently ig­nore the reams of ex­posés writ­ten over the years about Jur­gen Hark­sen, Glenn Agliotti, Gavin Wat­son, Dave King, Tony Ge­or­giades, Ma­ri­etjie Prinsloo and Barry Tan­nen­baum, to name but a few pale wrong­do­ers.

The lat­est name to be added to this hall of shame is that of Jurie Roux, CEO of the SA Rugby Union (Saru).

I’ve been as­tounded by the ab­sence of a pub­lic out­cry over our rev­e­la­tions, pub­lished on Netwerk24 over the past few months.

My favourite sports min­is­ter, Fik­ile Mbalula, has also been dead quiet on the mat­ter, even af­ter I prompted him on Twit­ter (yes, he has un­blocked me).

Why is there no na­tional out­cry about the very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions con­tained in a thick KPMG foren­sic re­port that the coun­try’s rugby boss si­phoned off R35 mil­lion from Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity to fund the Maties rugby club? And this in a time of #FeesMustFall. Here’s a short his­tory of the story so far. Be­fore be­ing ap­pointed the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Saru, Roux was fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor at the univer­sity. At the same time, he was the pres­i­dent of the Maties rugby club. In 2010, Roux left the univer­sity af­ter be­ing ap­pointed at the rugby union. We now know that an out­side re­cruit­ment com­pany ap­pointed Roux and he was never in­ter­viewed by Saru’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee or pres­i­dents’ coun­cil.

Then the in­for­ma­tion emerged that the univer­sity’s fi­nan­cial sys­tems had al­legedly been by­passed to move money to the rugby club. The univer­sity ap­pointed KPMG to con­duct a foren­sic au­dit into the mat­ter.

At the end of 2013, the au­dit firm handed over its fi­nal re­port to the univer­sity.

It painted a shock­ing pic­ture of a rogue se­nior ex­ec­u­tive, Roux, who used the univer­sity’s re­serve funds like they were his own piggy bank.

KPMG found that be­tween 2002 and 2012, about R21 mil­lion was ir­reg­u­larly trans­ferred from the univer­sity’s re­serve funds to the rugby club. A fur­ther R14 mil­lion was ir­reg­u­larly spent on var­i­ous ex­penses.

In email cor­re­spon­dence un­cov­ered by KPMG, Roux re­ferred to th­ese monies as “spar­ries”, pre­sum­ably a ref­er­ence to “sav­ings money”, or “spaargeld” in Afrikaans.

In a sep­a­rate email to his col­league Chris de Beer, the for­mer deputy head of stu­dent fees, Roux wrote he would one day win the Euro lotto “and pay back mil­lions”. De Beer was fired by the univer­sity in 2012. Pay­ments were made to Maties play­ers such as Peter Grant, Juan de Jongh and Ernst Jou­bert.

On re­ceipt of the foren­sic re­port, the univer­sity ob­tained le­gal ad­vice and did three things: they re­ported the case to the Hawks; in­sti­tuted a civil claim against Roux for R32 mil­lion in the Western Cape High Court; and filed an in­sur­ance claim for dam­ages suf­fered through fraud­u­lent be­hav­iour. The Hawks are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case, Roux is op­pos­ing the civil claim and the univer­sity’s in­surer is con­sid­er­ing the claim.

Two weeks ago, we re­vealed that KPMG per­formed a sup­ple­men­tary in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter be­ing pro­vided with a mem­o­ran­dum from the univer­sity’s coun­cil with fresh al­le­ga­tions against Roux. This time, the al­le­ga­tions in­cluded self-en­rich­ment.

KPMG found that Roux and De Beer were di­rec­tors of Stel­lar Africa Rugby, a sports man­age­ment agency that had Maties rugby play­ers as clients. Th­ese play­ers would re­ceive bur­saries from the univer­sity (cour­tesy of Roux and De Beer) and then pay com­mis­sions to Stel­lar.

KPMG rec­om­mended that Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity ob­tain Roux’s bank ac­counts through the SA Po­lice Ser­vice to de­ter­mine whether he had ben­e­fited fi­nan­cially from the scheme.

In 2014, Saru asked the univer­sity for a copy of the KPMG re­port to con­sider tak­ing steps against him. Af­ter agree­ing not to show Roux a copy of the re­port, Saru gave it to Roux and asked him to re­spond.

Saru pres­i­dent Ore­gan Hoskins said at the time: “All I can say is that Jurie Roux is an out­stand­ing CEO of Saru, who, among other things, has been rig­or­ous in en­sur­ing that the high­est stan­dards of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance have been ap­plied in our or­gan­i­sa­tion. He con­tin­ues to en­joy our full con­fi­dence and sup­port.”

Hoskins has now made an about-turn and is push­ing for Roux’s sus­pen­sion. He was out­voted by the coun­try’s rugby bosses, which prompted Hoskins to of­fer his res­ig­na­tion.

A com­pro­mise was reached that Saru would ob­tain a fi­nal le­gal re­port on the Roux saga, which would be bind­ing.

Bas­son is editor in chief of Netwerk24





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