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Tuesday 23 July 2019
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TTCB executive member questions timing of audit report –‘It is total mischief’

EXECUTIVE member of the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) and former Minister of Sport Manohar Ramsaran described the timing of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) audit report as “mischief,” as it comes just days before the TTCB elections.

According to a CNC3 report on Tuesday night, a PWC audit revealed former Sport Company of TT (SporTT) director Jan attempted to approve funding for the TTCB beyond his limit. It is alleged that in return Jan was offered a job as assistant coach for the Red Force in October 2017, a position he had for a few months. The audit report said Jan leaked confidential SporTT documents to TTCB president Azim Bassarath which revealed the amount of money the TTCB would receive from SporTT.

Jan was fired from SporTT in November 2017 after a two-year tenure. He was not given a reason for being fired. Calls to Bassarath yesterday went unanswered, but Jan plans to have a press conference today to clear the air. He told Newsday, “I am in consultation with my lawyers and I will be issuing a press release tomorrow (today) on the matter.” The press conference is expected to be held at 2 pm in Port of Spain, but the venue has not yet been determined. It is alleged that Bassarath made Jan the top candidate for the assistant coaching job because he was willing to approve funds for the TTCB. In another report Bassarath said he could not recall putting Jan’s name as the front runner for the job. Ramsaran told Newsday the hiring of Jan was a decision made by the executive of the TTCB.

Ramsaran, asked if Jan attempted to approve funding beyond his limit when at SporTT, said, “I don’t think any director or acting director could approve funds, so that is a misleading statement. I do not think they (directors) have the authority, maybe to spend a dollar or two but to spend like that. I do not think that is true.”

Ramsaran, asked if the hiring of Jan as assistant coach of the TT Red Force was because he attempted to approve funding beyond his capacity said, “I did not have such conversations with him.” Ramsaran said Jan told him he will try to get money to the board that was owed to the TTCB.

“He said, ‘Mr Ramsaran I will deal with that, I will do whatever I could do to make sure the money owed to the board is given. I will see if it could be released.’ That is all – a simple conversation.”

Ramsaran said Jan may have been misinformed concerning the money that he could approve and nothing is wrong with that. “Suppose he misinterpreted his role and then somebody said, ‘What you doing boy’ and he withdraw. What is wrong with that?” Ramsaran is questioning the timing of the PWC report, as the TTCB elections is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

“Ramsaran said, “That is mischief, it is total mischief.”

Ramsaran, who was referred to as president of the Monroe Road Cricket Club in another newspaper article, cleared the air that his club and SporTT ever conducted business. “I want to categorically state that Monroe Road Cricket Club did no business with Sport Company ever.”

A board member of the TTCB, who wished to remain anonymous, said this situation is not shocking.

“It does not surprise me as a board member. In the TTCB it always have (suspicious activity).”

Dinanath Ramnarine and Daren Ganga, both National League representatives, have been battling with the TTCB over the board’s constitution and operations since 2016. Ramnarine could not be reached for comment yesterday and Ganga said he was busy and could not comment.

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