By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) As the suspended CEO of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Manu Sawhney awaits to know his fate, some people who support him have raised 10 sharp questions about controversial issues – from the cost of hiring PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for culture review by ICC, alleged bending of the rules, to suggest a conflict of interest scenario for an ICC board member.
Sawhney, originally from India, was suspended on March 9 after an expensive ‘Workplace Culture Review’ or ‘Cultural Assessment Review’ was carried out by PwC.
In general, Sawhney was accused of “targeted acts of bullying against certain [ICC] staff “; of” physical aggression, such as fist “; and to have” directly and indirectly affected the health and well-being of individuals through [his] behavior”.
The fourth charge against Sawhney is that he did not “correctly report to [ICC Executive] Board of Directors and has implemented decisions or changes without proper consultation with the Board of Directors ”.
Sawhney was appointed ICC CEO in January 2019.
The ten questions (see below) include one that raises serious doubts as to whether the ICC followed its own procurement rules while hiring PwC to conduct the cultural evaluation. Sawhney’s supporters also claim that the son of an ICC board member works for PwC, so that would constitute a possible scenario of conflicts of interest.
Sawhney ‘camp’ wants to know what role England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Ian Watmore played in engaging PwC in the cultural evaluation, and whether the entire ICC Board was consulted or shown the scope of the notification before hiring PwC.
The people who support Sawhney have also claimed that some ICC board members, including female independent director Indra Nooyi, had expressed “concern” over the culture review.
The second allegation is that the PWC report, on the basis of which Sawhney was suspended, has not been seen by all those who should have received copies of it. Sawhney claimed that even he got the report reluctantly.
“Following repeated requests, I finally received a copy of the final report issued by PwC on March 15, 2021, seven days after being suspended on March 9, 2021,” Sawhney wrote in a lengthy statement to which IANS has been given access.
Supporters of Sawhney claimed that PwC had entered into a contract for $ 200,000.
In his statement, Sawhney said that the ICC President, Greg Barclay, “had not provided a copy of the” evidence against me “to all ICC board members; refused my help from my lawyer at the disciplinary hearing;” Refuses to accept that my disciplinary hearing be recorded. “; and” refused “to give me” sick pay “.
“It is quite clear to me, as it would be to any sensible person or spectator, that I am the victim of a deliberate witch hunt. All the pretense of carrying out a fair trial or giving me a fair hearing is completely abandoned, ”Sawhney wrote.
IANS sent the questions raised by Sawhney’s supporters to the ICC. An ICC director said: “This issue is still ongoing and as such it would be inappropriate to comment.”
However, a source in the ICC defended the action against Sawhney.
“I can confirm that the whole process and scope was approved by the Board of Directors and Mr Watmore chose to lead the project after PwC was hired. You should also note that PwC is a very large organization and Mr Watmore’s relative works in a completely different division and this was noticed for the board (along with another board member) and is not considered a conflict, ”the source said.
Another source said the verdict in the Sawhney case could be out sooner rather than later. “Also be aware that PwC claims that 95 percent of the people contacted in the ICC spoke out against Sawhney. That may not be correct – I can only say so much at this point. ”
10 questions from Sawhney ‘camp’:
1 – Why did the ICC ignore its own procurement rules when they hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct a cultural assessment of the ICC?
2 – What was the role of Ian Watmore, President of the ECB, in this process, and was it an example of good governance to appoint a company without following the ICC’s procurement rules and a company that employed the son of an ICC board member? Why was the ICC Board also not consulted or shown the scope of the review before the appointment was made?
3 – Did some ICC board members, including female independent director Indra Nooyi, express concern about the cultural review and instructed that the CEO should also be closely involved in the review? Why was their request ignored?
4 – Was the scope of the cultural review changed at a later date, and was the ICC Board consulted before the change was made? If so, when, why and on whose instruction was the review changed?
5 – Have Sawhney or his legal team been given detailed and specific examples of actions that led to the suspension of the CEO? Has the ICC’s $ 200,000 investigation into the case been completed? If so, why are the results not shared with the entire ICC Board?
6 – Is it true that the ICC is conducting an internal investigation into the leakage of information, including the outcome of an ICC Staff Committee meeting related to the ICC’s CEO? What is the status of this probe?
7 – Why was the request from an ICC board member to change his voice in the Sawhney case ignored? Will the ICC give examples of other occasions where this has happened, both in terms of approving the protocol and refusing a Member State permission to change its vote?
8 – Why was the CEO not invited to the HR and Remuneration Committee meeting, and at whose instructions?
9 – Why has the full ICC board not seen the full report prepared by PwC, which was the basis for the suspension of the CEO?
10 – Why have ICC policies on employment, bullying, harassment, sick leave, complaints and discipline been ignored so far, and on whose instructions? What action is being taken against those who have ignored these policies?
qma / bsk