Stellenbosch University’s R37m civil claim against him is “strange”, says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux in a replying affidavit ahead of proceedings instituted against him by his former employer for alleged fraud.
Initially set down to be heard in the Western Cape High Court on May 13, the matter was postponed without a resumption date.
University spokesperson Martin Viljoen confirmed to News24 on Monday that this was owing to administrative reasons and time constraints, by agreement between the parties.
The university is claiming damages from Roux, who served as a senior director in the university’s finance department before he was appointed as Saru’s CEO in 2013.
He had worked for the university between 1994 to 2012.
Roux served on the management of the university’s rugby club for 10 years.
In a replying affidavit filed earlier this month, Roux charged that the case against him was “strange” for a number of reasons.
One was that the money being claimed from him had not been lost but used for legitimate university expenses, according to the university’s own papers.
“Secondly, to the knowledge of the university, I never took any money from the university (apart from my salary and benefits), let alone R37m. The university’s expert report confirms that I did not personally benefit from my alleged conduct relied upon for the claim,” his affidavit reads.
“The university also knows that I do not have R37m. I am a salaried employee of SA Rugby.”
Roux also referred to an expert summary filed on behalf of the university which stated that he had potentially benefitted from university funds to the extent of R55 250.
“That is incorrect. It is correct that I requested [former coach] Chean Roux to pay me R55 250 from funds which he had received legitimately from the university. That payment to me was reimbursement of money that I, out of necessity, had paid out of my personal fund in report of legitimate expenses of the university,” he said.
He acknowledged that it was an incorrect procedure for recoupment of disbursements, but alleged that he had in fact under-claimed as the total reimbursement due to him was R62 643.
According to his affidavit, the university did not suffer any damages as a result of his conduct.
“Instead of causing the university any loss or damages, in my capacity as first director and then senior director of financial planning and asset management at the university, I worked very hard, very effectively and with great success to strengthen both the university’s financial situation and its financial management system. Furthermore the work I did at Maties Rugby (together with others) contributed significant value to the university emanating from the Maties Rugby brand.”
He pointed out that the university is spending tens of millions of rands on accountants and lawyers “in its pursuit of this case against me”.
Roux also said the university’s claim that he had breached his employment contract strange, questioning how he could have breached his employment contract when it was unable to produce the laws, statues, regulations, policies and principles that applied during his employment.
He charged that several allegations of lack of knowledge on the part of the University’s Council and senior management of events were unfounded as several senior members were in fact well aware of them.
According to a report by audit firm KPMG, attached to a notice by the university lodged at the high court in October 2017, Roux “misrepresented the university’s funds (including by, without evidence of authorisation, reallocating reserves of the university for expenditure); entered into unauthorised agreements on behalf of the university; did not act in the best interests of the university; and potentially benefitted personally from university funds”.
The report – which was attached to the filing, giving notice that the university would be calling Roy Walligora, a KPMG director, as expert witness – states Roux could have benefitted from university funds through the payments of irregular bonuses, News24 previously reported.
Roux is also alleged to have used a software mechanism that did not leave an audit trail “and concealed the movement of funds” between accounts to which he had access.
These movements “decreased the (university) council’s reserves by R35.3m from 2002 to 2010”, the report says.
KPMG also made adverse findings against a friend and colleague of Roux’s, Chris de Beer, who also worked in the university’s finance department and the rugby club.
He was found to have channelled funds from Roux to irregularly funded bursaries and unused or old student fee accounts. De Beer has been dismissed by the university.
News24 in March reported that De Beer had been served with a notice to appear in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court later that month to face multiple fraud charges as well as a charge of money laundering.