EXECUTIVE members of the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) Dr Allen Sammy and Manohar Ramsaran said there was no reason for embattled president of the board Azim Bassarath to step aside from today’s elections, despite two audits putting his leadership under tremendous scrutiny. Bassarath, who was first elected president in 2009, will be seeking his fourth term in office. He has not answered calls to his cellphone since last Tuesday when CNC3 reported on a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) audit.
The audit report suggested former Sport Company of TT director Imran Jan attempted to approve funding for the TTCB beyond his limit. It was alleged that, in return, Bassarath offered Jan a job as assistant coach for the Red Force in October 2017. Both men denied wrongdoing. Jan said his coaching credentials made him a prime candidate for the job.
The PWC audit report became public just six months after a National Gas Company (NGC) audit on the TTCB showed 24 per cent of its sponsorship was not spent according to NGC’s stipulation.
That audit showed that between 2014 and 2016, the TTCB spent $2,983,000 without approval and not in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU).
CNC3 recently reported that on July 13, NGC president Mark Loquan sent a strongly worded letter ordering the TTCB to use its own funds to reallocate the $2.9 million that was misused by the TTCB back to what it was originally intended for.
It’s been alleged Bassarath did not inform the board about that letter at a meeting on July 28 and insisted the MOU allowed the TTCB to divert funds not fully utilised to other cricketing areas.
Asked about NGC’s request yesterday, Dr Sammy sought to brush the latest revelation under the carpet.
“As far as I know, that is a last year matter that was already resolved,” he said.
Sammy, questioned if Bassarath had assured TTCB members that the MOU allowed the TTCB to reallocate funds, reiterated his stance.
He said, “This is what I am saying, that if this is the same matter about the issue of misallocation or reallocation, all of that was vented already last year and that was sent to the media and the media made a big thing. We wrote NGC, we met with the Minister (of Sport) on this same matter.”
Sammy said this information was an election strategy and Bassarath does not have to resign.
“If I start to say nasty things about you and you know it is not true, but I keep saying it and I keep pestering and persisting, what would you do? Ent you will say, ‘Well listen I know I am an honest man’ and therefore you will continue to do what you have to do and you will continue to not change your agenda to suit anybody’s objective.”
Ramsaran also said the NGC situation was already discussed and said it has been brought up now by people trying to gain control of the TTCB. Ramsaran said he does not believe there is any
The former Sports Minister said, “If there is any corruption that I believe in (the TTCB), I will resign. I will not ask people to resign.
Elections is tomorrow and to go through this trauma is not nice.” Elections will be held at the TTCB office at the National Cricket Centre, in Couva, from 6 pm, today.