SCORPIO — THE YELLOW CARDS AT SAFA, PART ONE
Safa president Danny Jordaan submits warning statement to the Hawks after financial misdemeanour claims
Danny Jordaan provided a warning statement to the Hawks in May in answer to complaints from Safa colleagues that he had been instrumental in the dodgy acquisition of a R65m Johannesburg property, a price tag of double its evaluation, as well as the abuse of the association’s funds for personal gain.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is considering whether to charge South African Football Association (Safa) President Danny Jordaan and CFO Gronie Hluyo with financial misdemeanours relating to allegedly abused Safa funds.
“After some hesitation from mr. Jordaan, he ended up complying” on 10 May this year and provided a warning statement to the Hawks after a directive from the NPA to do so in June 2022, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga told Scorpio.
Having rubbished all related claims before, Jordaan’s colleagues expect him to have denied all allegations against him.
Hluyo, through his lawyers EFG incorporated, declined on 4 August 2022 to provide a warning statement, dithering over it since instructed to do so in October 2020.
“Due to non-compliance, the NPA is still evaluating if they have to charge him,” Mhaga said.
Jordaan is the main suspect in a criminal complaint by Safa national executive committee member Malesela Mooka, registered with the police as Booysens Cas 42205/20 in May 2020. Supporting Mooka in part are affidavits submitted by Lucas Nhlapo, former vice president and former chair of the Safa audit and risk committee, and former Safa CEO Dennis Mumble.
Hluyo, as Safa’s CFO, is the person who supposedly pushed the “pay”-button and is sketched as thoroughly under the influence of Jordaan.
Jordaan and Safa have become synonymous over the past two decades. Credited as the CEO who brought home the Fifa 2010 World Cup, he was celebrated. Connected to this success, however, is the sticky issue of whether Safa paid a $10-million bribe to seal the awarding of the World Cup to South Africa, and Jordaan’s central role in the scheme. In 2013, Jordaan was elected as president of the association, a position he remains in as the longest-serving in Safa’s history.
Since, his leadership style – described by some current and erstwhile colleagues as that of a despotic, power-hungry man who acts without integrity and frequently beyond the remits of his authority and in violation of a litany of Safa regulations – has earned him numerous enemies.
Most NEC members, it must be noted, are however completely supportive of Jordaan. Particularly, his enemies say, because Jordaan blatantly “buys” the NEC with honoraria, cars, expensive trips and financial support – the bill, of course, always footed by Safa. Piling on the accusations is former ANC MP Jennifer Ferguson who in 2018 laid a charge of rape against Jordaan after alleging he did so in a hotel room more than two decades before.
On Friday, a hot-tempered Jordaan also arranged for a farce of a press conference – no questions were allowed and Jordaan himself huddled off-field – to announce civil and criminal action against forensic investigator Bart Henderson, the author of a seemingly embarrassing report pointing to possible material wrongdoing at Safa, with Jordaan right at the centre. (The announcement leaves one with a chuckle and a wish that it would, somehow, actually make it to court for a judge to pronounce on. First, it seems that Jordaan forgot he will tie himself up in a devastatingly revealing discovery process. Second, if the argument is to be entertained, will Markus Jooste now be able to sue PwC for the embarrassing Steinhoff report? Will the Guptas drag Judge Raymond Zondo to court for his State Capture reports? Third, a decade of trends suggest Safa is again footing the bill for Jordaan’s legal adventures.)
Read more in Daily Maverick: SA Football Association blasts corruption allegations levelled at Danny Jordaan – plots legal action
The symptoms of a badly run association can, however, never be covered up for too long. Mortifyingly, the Motsepe Foundation had to broker peace between Banyana Banyana and Safa management hours before the team left for New Zealand and the Fifa Women’s World Cup. The drama was, of course, about money – something Safa doesn’t have and the Banyana players deserve. So the Motsepes opened their purse. This Sunday read in City Press by Timothy Molobi is worth a look.
There seems to be no end to the yellow cards recorded against Jordaan. Through their lawyer Lesedi Mphahlele, Jordaan and Hluyo declined to comment on a range of questions.
The criminal complaints signed by Mooka, Nhlapo and Mumble relate to mainly five incidents.
The first and second complaints are linked and relate to the alleged pillaging of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust fund, to buy a dilapidated family pleasure park known as the Fun Valley Pleasure Resort, in the south of Johannesburg. Earmarked for development as a Safa National Technical Centre, the idea was to create a hub for football-related research, development and training.
According to the affidavits, in September 2014 Jordaan “unilaterally” ensured a R87.7-million grant from the Legacy Trust was allocated to buy and upgrade the Fun Valley property. The sale was registered a year later. Having had sight of the paperwork planning for the technical expenditure, Nhlapo further suggests that about R5.2-million has in the meantime seemed to have gone missing without proper explanation.
Negotiations around the Fun Valley price tag in itself seem highly questionable. According to Mooka, Jordaan and former Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke visited property owner Godfrey Cohen and agreed on a deal for R65-million. (Valcke is currently fighting allegations of bribery involving World Cup media rights in the appeals court of Switzerland’s federal criminal court. He has since been banned from all football-related activity until 2032 by Fifa’s ethics committee for violating its ethics code relating to the case involving the 2010 Fifa World Cup bribery allegations.)
Jordaan then allegedly instructed Mumble and Hluyo to conclude the deal. When Mumble and Hluyo commissioned a property valuation, they were informed Fun Valley was actually worth between R30-million and R35-million. On Mumble’s version, it means Jordaan had concluded a deal in which Safa was to pay about double the value of the property.
Why the property valuation was done after the agreement was concluded, why Mumble and Hluyo as CEO and CFO didn’t simply cut the deal right there and then and why Jordaan was involved at all in operational matters, is unclear. Mumble did not react to Scorpio’s questions about his own and Jordaan’s conduct, even though he bitterly complained about Jordaan under oath and on record before. In the middle of 2015, the first payments for Fun Valley registered in Safa’s accounts. The struggling football association just got a helluva lot poorer.
The third complaint against Jordaan relates to the much discussed $10-million “bribe” paid to seal the award of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The South Africans consistently claim the $10-million was “support” for the “African diaspora legacy programme” earmarked for the Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf). The money was, however, paid into a bank account controlled by Jack Warner, former vice president of Fifa and president of Concacaf. Despite much protestation, Jordaan is said to have played a central role in the saga. amaBhungane wrote about it below:
In May 2015, the US Attorney General issued indictments against 14 football officials relating to wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering. The indictment mentioned two “unindicted South African co-conspirators”. So Jordaan lawyered up suitably on Safa’s dime – the basis for the third criminal complaint. Mooka and Mumble argue that the entire escapade with local and international lawyers consulted by Jordaan cost Safa north of R10-million. According to Mumble, the lion’s share of about R4-million was paid to an American legal firm for Jordaan’s personal defence in the case. The argument here is the legal bill was for his own pocket, and not for Safa’s.
In the fourth and fifth complaints, Mumble and Mooka allege that Jordaan again used Safa funds for his private needs without agreement from Safa management. According to Mumble, Jordaan unilaterally appointed reputation company Grit Communications and issued instructions to Safa for payment of just over R1-million. This was in exchange for PR services to smooth out his image after former ANC MP Jennifer Ferguson in 2017 accused Jordaan of raping her more than two decades previously and laid a subsequent charge with the police.
Safa also paid the R40,250 bill of Badger Security Services in October 2018 for a risk assessment and bodyguards – apparently to protect Jordaan at a heated Safa elective congress in May that year. This is incongruous with the facts, Mumble said.
Ructions at Safa, always with Jordaan in the middle of the drama, are as old as Jordaan’s almost three-decade tenure at the association – first as CEO, and since 2013 as president. Jordaan has a habit of fighting with his vice presidents who, in turn, consistently accuse him of dictatorial tendencies and rule by “ochlocracy” (ruling by mob or mass while intimidating legitimate authorities).
A central theme in all the fights is, of course, Safa money.
Jordaan and Safa management have, in the past, consistently denied wrongdoing. DM
In this series titled “The yellow cards at Safa”, Scorpio will highlight some of the numerous problems at the football association.