McKeever bomb drops on WPRFU
NEWLANDS UPDATE: The decision by Western Province Rugby Football Union officials to court the discredited former Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever has come back to haunt them.
@rugby365com can reveal that McKeever, who punted himself as a kingmaker for suspended WPRFU President Zelt Marais, has been arrested and charged with fraud.
Colonel Andrè Traut, Prov Commander: Media Communication for the South African Police Service Western Cape, confirmed that McKeever was arrested last Friday, January 28.
“He made his court appearance today [Monday. January 31] on a charge of fraud,” Traut told this website, adding: “Bail was granted.”
The case is now with the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa.
McKeever’s fraud charges stem from his involvement in allegedly selling shares he did not own or control, in the imploded London Listing of Umuthi Healthcare Solutions plc.
His arrest culminated in a two-year investigation by the SAPS commercial crimes unit.
Umuthi was suspended twice from trading on London Stock Exchange – the first time on March 10 2021.
McKeever acted as a “sub-agent” and business partner to Connie van Nieuwkerk, who remains incarcerated at Sun City Women’s Prison while awaiting trial on fraud and theft charges in the same matter.
The reason why McKeever’s arrest will leave a number of WPRFU high-muck-a-mucks with blushes, is that while his involvement in the Umuthi saga was ongoing, the polemical former Spears boss was also involved in high-level talks on behalf of the WPRFU.
As @rugby365com reported in March last year, conversations between Stade Français and WPRFU ground to a halt, after McKeever fell out of favour with the French giants.
Thomas Lombard, the Directeur Général of the French giants, confirmed to @rugby365com at the time that conversations ceased, after McKeever punted the ‘groundbreaking strategic alliance‘ as his brainchild.
“We have stopped all discussions,” Lombard told this website.
“The conditions were not beneficial to us,” he added.
The WPRFU President, Marais, who was suspended when the South African Rugby Union placed WPRFU under administration late last year, at the time downplayed the role of McKeever in the ‘exploratory talks’ in the Stade Français Paris saga.
Marais described McKeever, as “merely acting in a facilitating role”.
The WPRFU boss put himself in the driving seat, despite McKeever’s public declarations about his involvement.
“I wish to advise you that the President attended all meetings with Mr McKeever,” Marais said
“The President and Mr McKeever together attended all meetings with Stade Français,” Marais told this website.
There was another controversial spin-off of the stalled Stade Francais talks that put McKeever at the centre of the WPRFU boardroom drama.
Junaid Moerat, the suspended former WPRFU executive member, launched a scathing attack on Marais and his close confidant, McKeever.
Moerat, one of the most prominent members of the WPRFU executive at the time, was suspended in February 2021, a saga that also took a couple of turns in court.
He stood accused of leaking information about a proposed agreement between WPRFU and the French giants, Stade Français, to the media.
According to Moerat, McKeever was the author of a ‘draft media statement‘ that was the source of the media ‘leaks’ for which he was suspended.
There may well be a few other skeletons to come out once the McKeever cupboard gets given a good shake.
Also worth reading
WPRFU & Stade: McKeever was only a ‘facilitator’
WPRFU & Stade: Another McKeever misfire
Marais, McKeever accused of ‘lies and fabrications’
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Zelt ally threatens SARU
WPRFU: The rise and fall of a ‘war room’
WPRFU: When the truth is stranger than fiction