Johannesburg - Only 12 days before he was put on special leave, the former head of South African Airways (SAA), Khaya Ngqula
, authorised a second sponsorship contract worth millions for the international ATP tennis series, although he lacked the authority to do so.
This contract could cost the airline around R160m up to the end of 2012. Ngqula was put on special leave on February 13 2009 pending the outcome of a KPMG investigation into his activities at SAA. He however resigned a few weeks later.
Sake24 established that Ngqula signed the new ATP sponsorship contract on February 1, 2009.
The KPMG investigation into Ngqula's activities at SAA reveal that in 2006 he illegally awarded the first ATP contract worth R120m.
He did this outside the then board's mandate, explained SAA chairperson Cheryl Carolus
during the past week.
While at the helm, Ngqula also illegally awarded other sponsorships including an amount of R21m to Argentinian golfer Angel Cabrera.
In terms of his mandate he could award sponsorships of no more than R3m.
Carolus said the managers of the ATP tour, as well as Cabrera, were declared blameless in the KPMG investigation.
Questions are meanwhile being asked about the role of the former SAA board under the chairmanship of Professor Jakes Gerwel.
Ngqula and Gerwel both entered the service of the airline in Augustus 2004.
On several occasions Gerwel was quoted as acknowledging that mismanagement was taking place at SAA.
On Friday Gerwel told Sake24 that it would be inappropriate for him to comment on a process being driven by the new board.