LEGENDARY West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has expressed concern over the use of funds referred to in a reported Cricket West Indies (CWI) audit, asking whether past players received US$500,000 from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which presented that gift to CWI.
Holding, in a Youtube interview on his regular programme Mikey – Holding Nothing Back, with interviewer Asif Khan, spoke about the CWI audit, said to have been completed earlier this year.
Holding said people in the Caribbean have been asking for a forensic audit and a governance report to change the governance of cricket in the West Indies because they are not satisfied with the running of cricket in the region.
Holding wondered why CWI did not make public an audit which was completed in January.
“The top position changed recently and the new administration came into play and decided that they wanted to do an audit. They did not do a forensic audit, but they did an audit of what was happening, and something to point them in the direction of going forward.
“They got the results of that since January, I understand. When I was in South Africa I heard that they had gotten the results and yet they have never released it, for what reason I don’t know.”
CWI CEO Johnny Grave, responding to the question of whether an audit was done in January, said on Whatsapp, “I can confirm that a financial review was commissioned by the new president and vice-president following their election in March 2019. The report was presented to the board of directors in December 2019 and the recommendations were unanimously approved.
“Management has already implemented a number of them and the process of implementing all the others is well underway.”
Holding said he received a copy of the 60-page audit by e-mail. The former fast bowler said journalists and cricket officials send him documents regularly.
During a past CWI administration, Holding said, the BCCI gave a monetary gift intended for past West Indies players, but they never received it.
Holding said, “Each page I turn (in the audit) I get more angry to see how (the then) West Indies Cricket Board has been operating and what has been happening undercover, as they say, with the West Indies Cricket Board.
“There is one other item that I am going to touch on in our next show, along with other things of course, but one other item that I know former cricketers would be very interested in.
“Way back in about (named year) or (named year) the BCCI donated US$500,000 to the West Indies Cricket Board, specifically to go to past players.”
Grave did not answer a question posed to him about the US$500,000 donated by BCCI to past West Indies players.
But the former fast bowler said to his knowledge, past players did not benefit.
“I am a past player. I am not saying I want any of it, but I know a lot of past players. I’ve never heard of one cent out of that half a million US dollars going to any past player and I am absolutely sure if they had done that, they would have made a hullabaloo about it, a big press conference (to say), ‘Look what we are doing for the former players.’
“Half a million dollars – where is that half a million dollars? I will tell the viewers on your next show.”
Earlier in the interview, Holding highlighted what he said were other issues in the audit concerning the management of funds.
Reading from what he said was the audit, Holding said, “Cricket West Indies received funds of $134,200 from a sponsor...on behalf of (named territorial body) from a third party which appears to be an offshore corporation. It is unclear why the funds did not go directly to (the territorial body). This money was paid over to (the body) in three tranches – $104,100...$15,700...and $14,400...In this particular situation, Cricket West Indies was the financial conduit.”
Holding, continuing to read from the document, said the concerns were what due diligence was done to ensure that the source of these funds was legitimate and the funds “clean” from the perspective of anti-money-laundering compliance. The document asked what measures were taken to minimise the risk that Cricket West Indies might be involved in money laundering, and the auditors were unable to find an executed agreement/bona fide (agreement) for this transaction and that the funds were to be specifically marked for cricket development. There is no evidence that Cricket West Indies obtained confirmation that the funds were used as directed, the audit continued.