Whereas T&T regularly comes into the glare of the international spotlight for violent crimes, murders, guns and drugs, it has recently made news for a positive “feel good” story of a Trinidadia
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DC Tent Rentals boss goes into hiding
Davoughn Cummings, who earned $5.5 million in less than two years renting tents, tables, chairs and portable toilets to the controversial Life Sport programme, has gone into hiding.
Even Cummings’ mother Bernadine Cummings said she had no idea where her son was.
Bernadine, a mother of 11, who was abroad, said she returned home a few days ago only to hear that her son, who she affectionately calls “Boyo,” had moved out of the family’s home and could not be found.
Invoices submitted by Cummings to Life Sport listed his business—DC Tent Rentals as being a supplier of tent, tables, chairs and portable toilets, located at 8 Poui Lane, Malabar, Arima.
Cummings, age 25, also lived at the same address with his mother.
The audit showed that DC Tent Rentals, which had no formal contract with Life Sport, collected $5,590,225 for the periods 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014, which appeared to be very excessive.
It also showed several questionable transactions between Life Sport and the company.
On Thursday, the Sunday Guardian also discovered that the company operated in a cloud of secrecy as neighbours in the community said they were unaware of its existence as there were no commercial signs advertising the business. There was no signs of any type of business activity when the Sunday Guardian visited. On the portion of land, which seemed like close to a lot, stood a single storey green house. There was no shed or tents up.
“We don’t know about any tent rental and portable toilet business around here. You sure you have the right address?” one neighbour asked.
Another woman said she has been living on the street for over 20 years and never heard about the company.
Bernadine said the last time said she spoke to her son was on Tuesday.
“He tell me if they jail him he would talk the plain truth. I told him when I come home we would talk. I am really anxious to see him. Since I come home I ain’t see him. Every minute I looking out for him. This morning I sat by the window hoping to see him, but he did not show up. I want to hug him. That is my baby...my last child. He is very loving to his mother,” she said.
Speaking behind her closed gate, Bernadine claimed the recent articles about her son, which she read upon her arrival, came as a shock to her.
“I was not pleased at all, at all, at all. As a mother you would not feel good.”
She said the audit which highlighted corruption and criminal activity in Life Sport was news citizens wanted to hear.
Asked if she thinks her son’s life may be in danger, Bernadine said “all of that I am studying. I am worried.”
Was her son involved in criminal activity? Bernadine said no. She admitted that he was arrested by the police, but was not charged.
“Boyo is a born coward,” she said. “He loves children, especially his nieces and nephews.”
Before getting into the rental business, Bernadine said her son was unemployed.
Bernadine said when her son started working as a supplier she warned him to “be careful” not because her child was doing anything wrong, but out of caution.
How long has Cummings been operating his business, Bernadine replied, “I don’t know his business. My children is big man and woman. I don’t ask them what they doing.”
Messages left on Cummings’ cellphone were not returned.
This reporter also gave Bernadine a contact number to pass on to her son should he show up.
But up to late yesterday, Cummings did not call.
The audit revealed
Queries were raised about a $50,000 payment paid to Cummings for the rental of eight 25-seater maxi-taxis and 200 meals for a one-day trip from Malabar to Guayaguayare for participants of the programme.
Cummings was reimbursed $98,000 for items he claimed were destroyed during a police raid last February. However, the audit stated that the transparency of the entire reimbursement transaction was questionable as no police report was presented to central audit.
The audit also discovered that the $98,000 cheque was prepared by Life Sport for payment prior to the invoice being prepared and submitted to Cummings. Further inquiry revealed that the assistant accountant (at Life Sport) Ms Beckles stated that the cheque was printed on April 24, 2014, in error, and when picked up was voided and re-issued with the correct date.
The items purchased by DC Rentals from the funds reimbursed were subsequently rented from Life Sport—as noted in invoices dated June 30, 2014—for Evergreen, Carapo and Valencia in the sum of $39,000 and $12,000 respectively.
Cummings had no formal contract with Life Sport, as value for money was not being achieved and exorbitant amounts were paid monthly to him for the rental of items, the audit stated.
The audit also stated that transparency seemed to be lacking as verification of the services being paid for was difficult and that weaknesses in the approval and payment processes were also evident.
Items Cummings claimed were destroyed in the police raid:
2 portable toilets—$15,000
2 20x20 tents—$30,000
6 20 ft sidewalls—$11,000
2 Port-A-Cool unit—$36,000
1 Port-A-Cool hand sink—$6,000