More questions over TTCB's finances

TTCB president Azim Bassarath at the recent Caricom cricket conference.  - Jeff K Mayers
TTCB president Azim Bassarath at the recent Caricom cricket conference. - Jeff K Mayers

PRESIDENT of the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath has denied claims from the chairman of the South West Zone that an additional $195,112 is missing from its coffers.

In a WhatsApp message to Newsday on May 12, Bassarath said that figure is part of the initial amount of $548,000 that was reported missing in December last year.

A media release on May 11, signed by South West Zone chairman Ramesh Dharamdeo, said, "During the Annual General Meeting in December 2023, the (former) treasurer (Kiswah Chaitoo) disclosed that over $500,000 could not be accounted for. Since then, an additional $200,000 ($195,112) has been added to the tally of unexplained funds, bringing the total to over $700,000 and counting. The latest revelation came today, May 11, at the TTCB’s quarterly meeting."

Asked if this was true, Bassarath said, "The board was informed that the amount of $195,112 is part of the initial figure of $548,000. I informed the membership of this at the meeting last (Saturday) evening."

In February, Chaitoo, who reported the missing sum to the police, was voted out of the TTCB membership after a motion of no confidence was passed against him. The board claimed confidential TTCB documents were leaked to the media.

Bassarath recently said that the missing funds, which resulted in a TTCB employee resigning, and the issue with Chaitoo have resulted in sponsors pulling out from its youth tournaments.

Dharamdeo said, "Their failure to safeguard the organisation's finances has caused irreparable damage, tarnishing the reputation of TTCB and jeopardising its future."

The media release also questioned the accounting firm chosen by the TTCB to complete an audit.

"To add insult to injury, the (TTCB) executive unilaterally selected the accounting firm (name called) to conduct a forensic audit...

Dharamdeo wants independent people getting the chance to investigate the matter.

"The South West Zonal Council demands swift and decisive action. President Azim Bassarath and the entire executive must be removed from their positions immediately..."

He said the probe by the Fraud Squad should be expedited to ensure whatever evidence is still there is gathered.

Dharamdeo called on the Minister of Sport and Community Development to get involved.

"The TTCB has received significant funding from various governmental bodies over the years including the Ministry of Sports, Sport Company of TT and the Sports and Culture Fund at the Office of the Prime Minister...We believe it is a good time for the Honourable Minister of Sports Mrs Shamfa Cudjoe-Lewis to use her good offices to launch a forensic audit."

Bassarath dismissed the calls for him to step down, saying he will continue to serve local cricket as best as possible. "As president, I want to assure you that I will continue to discharge my functions with the best interest of cricket as my singular goal."

He called on the South West Zone to get their "affairs in order before calling on others to resign."

The South West zone is the second zone to state their frustration over the TTCB executive. The North Zone Council, on April 30, said it was wrong for the executive to partially blame Chaitoo for sponsors pulling out of youth cricket tournaments.


"More questions over TTCB’s finances"

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