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Tuesday, January 17, 2006


SA Teams/Unions: Spring cleaning in EP house continues

Source: EP Herald
Article by Derrick Spies

The directors of EP Rugby could face fines or up to 10 years in prison for failing to report allegations of fraud against rugby boss Phillip Joseph to the police.

In a letter, signed by Barend van Graan, the acting chairman of EP Rugby Pty (Ltd), which is the commercial arm of the EP Rugby Union, EP Rugby directors were informed on December 9 of their obligations under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.

The Act states that “any person who holds a position of authority and who knows, or ought reasonably to have known, or suspected that any other person has committed . . . theft, fraud, extortion, forgery or uttering a forged document involving an amount of R100 000 or more, must report such . . . to any police official”.

Further, the Act specifies that “any person who fails to comply . . . is guilty of an offence”.

This follows nearly four months after a forensic audit of the Eastern Province Rugby Union’s affairs by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in August last year. One of the problems highlighted by the report was alleged dishonest and fraudulent activities by EPRU chief executive Joseph.

The main concern raised by the audit was a dummy invoice totalling R414 568,01 that was fraudulently submitted to the National Lotteries Board.

Attached to the letter to the board is legal advice from attorneys Hofmeyer, Herbstein and Gihwala, which indicates the board had a duty to report the matter, as Joseph is a paid official of EP Rugby and reports to the board of EP Rugby Pty (Ltd).

“We have considered whether the board should, or could, wait for the outcome of a disciplinary hearing. In this case, the relevant persons already clearly ‘know’ or must suspect the irregularities.

“We advise that the transactions (dealt with in the reports) should be reported to the police without delay.”

A second report, commissioned by the EPRU and compiled by three advocates who reviewed the PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit, also said there was sufficient material to warrant a police investigation, and recommended the matter be handed over to the police as soon as possible. This report was handed over to the executive committee of the EPRU in November.

It was former EPRU president Willem Stuurman, however, who eventually took the matter up with the police and handed over the findings of the audit on December 13 – this only after he was suspended from participating in any rugby structures in the Eastern Cape for the next five years after being found guilty of submitting fraudulent claims and acting dishonestly.

Stuurman said he had taken the report to the police so the claims of fraud and mismanagement in the EPRU could be “resolved once and for all”.

He added: “If the police find me guilty, then I am willing to be the first one to go to jail.”

The advocates’ report indicated that aside from Joseph, financial manager Sharon Brown, with whom the advocates had consulted during the course of their investigation, had appeared to have incriminated herself after admitting to drafting the dummy invoice.

This report also highlighted the fact that the executive members of the EPRU were obligated to bring the matter of the dummy invoice to the attention of the National Lotteries Board.

“We are of the view that the audit report, annexures and our report should be presented to the National Lotteries Board.

“There is further potential prejudice, we believe, in that upon learning the true facts, the Lotteries Board will not be disposed to allocate any further money to EP Rugby, to the prejudice of the EPRU.

“The further consequence is that the board may attempt to recover the R414 568,01.”

The report, by advocates W Blundin, B J Pienaar and T N Price, reportedly cost the union R60 000.

SA Rugby Union vice-president Mike Stofile earlier confirmed to The Herald that the national body had put up R50 000 of this amount.

EPRU acting president Aldy Meyer said there were processes in place and the matter was being addressed, but he was not prepared to give any further detail, as the matter was still sub judice.

Meyer said Joseph and Brown were still in the employ of EP Rugby.

“The police are investigating the matter and we are giving them our full co-operation,” he said.

When asked if the matter had been reported to the National Lotteries Board, Meyer said it had not.

“We are waiting until the matter has been concluded, and only then will we notify all agencies and people on the outcome, including the board,” he said.

The police have confirmed that they are investigating the matter, but did not indicate at what stage the investigation is.

Van Graan was not prepared to comment on the matter, and repeated attempts to contact Joseph were unsuccessful.

It's high time that these corrupt officials are brought to book and that the law deals with them effectively. They have killed off many peoples' love and support for the region. The attempted revival of rugby in this region will only work if competent and honest people are elected.In order for Rugby to reach it's full potential in the EP region, all it's administrators must put the game first before their personal gains. I hope that the Spears bring some sort of revival and that the feeder unions drop the mantle of corruption.  
It's high time for somebody at EP Rugby to take some steps and get the union's affairs back in order. Cut out the rot and get some people into the positions that is passionate about rugby and not their own ego's and pockets.

I was at the Boet (sorry, EPRU Stadium) on Saturday and it was great to see the locals showing their support for the Spears. No reason why that support won't come back to see EP as well when the bad elements have been eliminated and they start to get a team together like they did a few years ago. It should be about Rugby, and nothing else. Next stop, BVR at SARU.

We can only hope that the train will stop at the intended place. Seems the games are allready being played. First the hearings are postponed and now King is out.
The Gravy Train has now been upgraded to a Gravy Plane :-)

I find this rather upsetting too:

"Meyer said Joseph and Brown were still in the employ of EP Rugby."

Well, I suppose with their credentials BvR will find a place for them if they finally get sacked.
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