Ex-crook set to head EP Cricket

Chumani Bambani

A CONVICTED fraudster is about to become president of Eastern Province cricket and Cricket South Africa (CSA) says there is nothing wrong with it.

Rajan Moodaley, who was found guilty of fraud in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court seven years ago, was the only nominee last week for president of the Eastern Province Cricket Board.

If his nomination is approved and he is elected, he will automatically become a member of the CSA board.

The election will be held on October 21 to fill the vacancy following the resignation of Donovan May a fortnight ago.

Moodaley’s nomination needs to be ratified by Cricket SA, whose spokesman Michael Owen-Smith refused to reveal the list.

“All the names on the nomination list will be considered, but we will not be commenting on any until the list has been approved, or on who may or may not be nominated,” he said.

However, Moodaley said he had been nominated, as did the head of the CSA’s nominations committee, Ray Mali.

Moodaley said he was still awaiting confirmation from the CSA, but there appeared to be no doubt of this in Mali’s mind.

“I see nothing wrong with the nomination of Moodaley,” Mali said. “He is the president of the most powerful cricket board in the Eastern Province region [the Nelson Mandela Bay Cricket Board] and the next level for him is the presidency of Eastern Province cricket.”

Asked how a convicted fraudster could be nominated for a top position in Eastern Province cricket, Mali said: “Approving nominations is based solely on the cricket knowledge and contribution made by the nominees – nothing else. Moodaley has served the game well.

“If he is nominated and he wins naturally at election time, then there is nothing wrong – anything else outside of cricket should not matter.”

Moodaley was found guilty in 2004 on five counts of fraud totalling R79950 and sentenced to a fine of R30000 or two years’ imprisonment. In 2002, he was suspended for a year by the EP Cricket Board for fraud involving R4800 and ordered to repay the money.

Moodaley said he did not think there should be anything standing in the way of his running for the EP presidency – “or any other position. I have been nominated and it is the nominations committee who will determine whether I meet the criteria or not. If my nomination is declined then I will have to accept that and move on,” he said.

This comes against the background of a growing financial scandal within Cricket SA following the revelation that chief executive Gerald Majola paid himself huge bonuses and used the organisation’s money to pay travel expenses for his wife and children.

The board, of which Moodaley will be a member if he is elected, has given Majola almost unanimous support.

Moodaley’s nomination also follows a controversial election last month at the EP Cricket Board’s annual meeting. Many of the newly elected board members are said to be allies of Moodaley.

Their election led to May stepping down from the presidency. He said at the time: “Just looking at the new board, I can’t work with those guys. I’ve done some soul-searching and spoken to people, but have decided not to stand.”

EP Cricket Board acting president Vuyo Ntswahlana said the decision on the final nomination list lay with the CSA. He would not comment on Moodaley’s nomination. The nomination list is expected to be approved this week.

Old Grey Cricket Club president Vaughan Robertson said he did not support Moodaley. “Firstly, we would never, ever support him for the presidency. I think the fact that he has been nominated bothers a lot of clubs.”

But Moodaley did find support in PECC president Terry Reid. “In the past two years as president of the NMBCB he’s made huge strides for the betterment of club cricket. If everything from a legal perspective is resolved, I, personally, would support his nomination.”

The Gelvandale Cricket Club preferred not to comment. Attempts to reach club champions NMMU were unsuccessful.

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