Forensic audit at Sports Company …”WHO IS IN CHARGE?

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The drama which unfolded at the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT) last week, is heading in one direction. And that is for an executive chairman to be appointed to run the State-purpose company.

With eight managers sent on administrative leave while a forensic audit is taking place, there is no one to run the affairs of SporTT.

All request for funding by sporting organisations will be in jeopardy, especially the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) which is heavily dependent on SporTT for assistance during the current FIFA World Cup campaign.

So with the eight managers out of the picture, who runs the company? With the blessing of the Ministry of Sport, the current chairman, Dinanath Ramnarine will have to run the affairs of SporTT, along with the remaining Board members.

Sooner, rather than later, the country will hear of the appointment of an executive chairman to run SporTT.

So what is happening at SporTT?

There seems to be a blight pervading over this country which was established in 2004, with eight Chief Executive Officers being appointed over the last three years. SporTT was seen as a cash cow for those in authority. No one can forget the $400 million Life Sport Programme under the last Government where money was no problem but results were hard to find.

Criminals were employed in this programme until it was discovered and stopped. Now comes another issue, where the Ministry of the Attorney General has directed that a forensic audit be conducted.

This audit, according to sources, follows allegations in the public domain about questionable contracts, bad hiring practices, among others. There is one contract in question which tilted the AG’s office into ordering the audit.

So last week, the matter reached a head when a meeting was summoned by the chairman at the Balmain facility. The managers and other persons were summoned to the meeting. At the beginning, everyone was asked to put their cell phones – personal and company – in a box prior to the start to the meeting.

Then some juniors who were in the room were asked to leave. It was there and then that letters to given to the eight managers that they were being sent on administrative leave for 45 days. That included the new CEO, Adam Monsterin. But sources say the leave will be extended as the audit cannot be completed within 45 days.

While the managers were in the meeting, all the cell phones were scanned, including the personal ones, and all information retained. Who ordered that remains a mystery.

While the meeting was in progress, three uniformed police officers from the Couva Police Station were within the vicinity and according to sources, even prevented the managers from leaving the room. It was only when the legal officer, Naveen Maharaj, asked if he was under arrest, that the corporal allowed everyone to leave, claiming ignorance as to why the police were there.

The eight managers eventually left the compound, but employees of the Ministry of the Attorney General and an auditing firm were seen at SporTT. It was so ironic that one of the affected managers is the son of the one of the advisers of the Attorney General.

How long will the audit take, is anyone’s guess. Did this have anything to do with the dismissal of a Board member on the same day of the drama? Did this have anything to do with the sudden resignation a few months ago of the then chairman, Michael Phillips?

Time will tell. The drama continues……….
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ADAM MONSTERIN
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NAVEEN MAHARAJ
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MICHAEL PHILLIPS
 
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