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SARU boss linked to police probe

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 20:34
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I am not aware of any charges against me
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South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux has been linked to a police investigation into major financial irregularities at Stellenbosch University.

At the centre of the investigation is former Stellenbosch Rugby Football Club chairperson and Deputy Director of student finances, Chris de Beer, a good friend of Roux’s and a SARU-accredited agent.

De Beer took over the chairmanship from Roux, who also held the position of Chairperson of the Varsity Cup (Pty) Ltd and was a Senior Director of Finances and Asset Management at Stellenbosch University prior to his appointment as Chief Executive of SARU.

According to media reports De Beer allegedly transferred funds from student accounts to a personal bank account to draw interest, while Deputy Director of student finances.

He was dismissed from Stellenbosch University “based on his non-compliance to the accepted financial policies and processes of the University.” and now manages a number of players - including Springboks Juan de Jongh, Lourens Adriaanse and Frik Kirsten.

Both Roux and SARU confirmed they are aware that Roux is mentioned in a report handed to the South African National Police Service by Stellenbosch University, but stressed they do not know in which way it makes mention of the SARU CEO.

Some media reports suggested the police investigation relates to alleged practices whereby fees of players at the university, their accommodation and other costs were financed illegally.

It was claimed by the Afrikaans daily newspaper, Beeld, that the debt of players who defaulted on their repayments were dismissed in many cases and players were helped financially when the tuition fees became too expensive for them.

It is claimed that some of these students are now professional players.

"The stories of creative accounting has been doing the rounds for years," the newspaper claimed.

Roux, however, strongly denied any wrongdoing.  

Stellenbosch University released a statement on Tuesday that read: “Stellenbosch University reported alleged financial irregularities to the South African National Police Service on 19 November 2013 after forensic investigations had been completed.

“Stellenbosch University (SU) previously announced further forensic investigations into the alleged non-compliance to financial policy and internal procedures at the university. This came as a result of the legal actions that had to be taken against Mr Chris de Beer, a former deputy director: student fees in this regard towards the end of 2012.

“The relevant forensic investigations have now been completed and the required legal opinion on the relevant fact statements has also been obtained. The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) of the Stellenbosch University Council considered the content of the reports at a special meeting on Thursday 7 November 2013. The SU Council was kept informed of progress with the investigations.

“The ARC concluded that there was reasonable suspicion that an offence related to fraud had been committed by former Stellenbosch University employees. As the amount exceeded R100 000, the matter had to be reported to the South African National Police Service (SAPS) as legally required by Section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Act no 12 of 2004).

“The mentioned  reporting to the commercial crimes branch of the SAPS in Cape Town was completed on 19 November  2013. The reported offence is related to the alleged irregular utilisation of SU reserve funds.

“Stellenbosch University trusts that the SAPS will take the investigations further and has committed its full cooperation and support.

“The University management would like to emphasise that the irreproachable administration and integrity of all university systems are non-negotiable, and therefore, we will not hesitate to take appropriate and concerted steps against any person who brings this commitment into ill repute through wrongful acts, said Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University.”

SARU, in a statement on Wednesday, said: The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has been advised that a Stellenbosch University administrative report handed to SAPS refers to Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.

Jurie Roux, SARU CEO: "Some months ago I was interviewed on one occasion by auditors appointed by Stellenbosch University on a policy matter relating to the authority to transfer funds internally. There was no suggestion of personal gain. I am not aware of any charges against me.

“I understand that a report has been filed with the SAPS for investigation, but I have no knowledge of its contents or the accusations against me. I deny any wrongdoing.  

“I must stress that the discussions that took place related to events prior to my appointment as CEO of the South African Rugby Union and do not relate to any activities of SARU.  I advised my employers that I had been called to interview as part of the Stellenbosch audit and they were fully aware of the process.

“My main concern now is that this report does not affect the operations of SARU and that the matter is cleared up as soon as possible.

“With that in mind it would not be helpful in either cause to say anything further at this time.”

Oregan Hoskins, SARU President: ‘We were advised by our CEO of the conversation that took place some time ago in relation to his former employment at the University of Stellenbosch.

“We are in no position to comment on the detail of the audit as it does not relate to the activities of the South African Rugby Union and pre-dates the appointment of Jurie Roux as CEO of SARU.

“This is entirely a Stellenbosch University matter and has no bearing on the CEO’s role at SARU.

“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. ”

The statement concluded that Hoskins said SARU would make no further comment on the matter.

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