MINISTER of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, wants to meet with the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) within the next week, in an effort to resolve the impasse between the local cricket board and its former sponsor National Gas Company (NGC).
A financial audit by the NGC, has shown that 24 per cent of its funds to the local cricket body was not spent according to stipulation.
The audit showed that between 2014 and 2016, $2,983,000 was spent without approval by the TTCB and not in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU).
National League representative Daren Ganga, who has been questioning the running of the TTCB for years, brought the situation into the public domain. Since then, there have been calls for the entire TTCB executive to resign.
On July 4, at a press conference at the National Cricket Centre, Couva, addressing the issue, president of the TTCB Azim Bassarath said, “It is be noted that all of the NGC funding was spent on line items within the scope of the agreement.”
Bassarath added, “I wish to state categorically here this morning that every cent invested in the game of cricket can be accounted for, and was put to use as stipulated in the MOU between the TTCB and the National Gas Company.”
On Monday, the Newsday was told that the TTCB wants to meet with Cudjoe to clear the board's name of any controversy.
In response Cudjoe said,"I am open to meeting with all the national sporting entities, including the cricket board. So if the cricket board is requesting a meeting, which I noticed that they have, then we will schedule a meeting with the cricket board."
Generally speaking, the sports minister reminded all national sporting bodies to be transparent to help attract corporate sponsorship.
Cudjoe said, "We are now at a point where we are trying to attract corporate sponsorship once again, and private sector sponsorship. Over the years, especially with football and cricket, we would have seen private sector sponsorship dwindle because so many of these entities have failed to reach the mark or to be up to scratch as it relates to being open, transparent, fair and professional in managing the business of sport."
National League Club representative Kiswah Chaitoo says there is no need for the executive to meet with the Minister of Sport. In an email to the media yesterday, Chaitoo said the executive of the TTCB wants to get the Minister involved because the members of the TTCB are feeling guilty.
"Why is the TTCB asking to see the Minister of Sports? The Honourable Minister cannot subvert an audit report for a state company (NGC) just because you're feeling bad. You (TTCB) reassuring the Minister (that the TTCB is doing the right thing) is like a mad man saying he not mad. Third Party reassurance is now required, a forensic audit on all expenses for the last seven years."
Chaitoo again asked the executive of the TTCB to resign. Chaitoo said, "In conclusion it is my opinion that the TTCB's executive has some serious creditability issues as it relates to managing a state owned company's funds and on that basis only you should all step down."