EP Kings back in court
NEWS: EP Kings directors is currently under investigations following the Union's large amount of debt and failure to pay creditors and players.
The aim of the interrogation is to establish whether EP Kings' directors traded in a reckless and negligent manner.
The media is not permitted to report on the in-camera proceedings.
One of the two major issues to be looked at is why EP continued to contract players at exorbitant salaries when the beleaguered franchise was already effectively insolvent.
Players such as Schalk Ferreira, Sylvian Mahuza, Elgar Watts and Steven Sykes were earning between ZAR1 million and ZAR1.85 million a year.
The second issue is to determine what happened to the EP Rugby Union’s television rights fees of ZAR28 million after 20 of its players signed 24-month contracts with SA Rugby Union (Saru) chief executive Jurie Roux’s company, SA Rugby Travel.
The interrogation started in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on October 25.
Interested parties such as Roux, EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson, the then Saru president Oregan Hoskins, the then Saru deputy president Mark Alexander, Saru chief financial officer Basil Haddad and Sanzar chief executive Andy Marinos could be called to the stand over the next few days as an independent liquidator tries to establish exactly what went wrong.
EP Rugby Union Pty Ltd was placed in final liquidation by the Port Elizabeth High Court in August, with its debts totalling ZAR58 million. The legal proceedings date back to January when a group of aggrieved rugby players took their employer to court.
Initially EP Rugby suggested they had a backer who was willing to invest ZAR100-million over the next five years (at ZAR20-million per year), but it was subsequently revealed that the Kings' benefactor - Christopher Wishlade of Integrated Sport - himself was declared bankrupt last year and on at least one previous occasion resulting in the failure of the business rescue.
If EP’s directors at the time are found to have acted in a grossly negligent manner, a recommendation may be made for the creditors to go after its directors in their personal capacity.
And with EP’s assets valued at a dismal ZAR69 000, this may be a more viable option.
While criminal charges may ensue, anything the witnesses say during the interrogation cannot be used against them at a later stage.