Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has said he has fresh evidence of corruption and mismanagement in the Life Sport programme and showed several cheque stubs which he said were being dumped at the Beetham landfill. He also alleged there were bank workers involved in the corruption. Rowley spoke at a press conference at Parliament, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. He said the stubs were found in garbage bags and were made out to people from different areas, including Malabar, Morvant, Barataria, Bagatelle and La Romaine.
He added: “But the actual cheques were written for June 2015. Somebody changed it with a pen to June 2014 and initialled all of them and the cheques were cashed. “I know that cheques which were misprinted, no one can change that with a pen and cash them. “The Life Sport programme does not end in the ministry. It ends all the way to the bank because there are persons in the bank who would have been cashing these cheques without the proper checks and balances.”
He said he intended to pass on the information to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams and called for a full forensic audit into several aspects of the programme, including the Rural Sport programme, the Hoop of Life, the Malabar Football Club, Arima Invitational Challenge and the Twilight Games. Rowley also demanded that the auditor general examined those issues. On the findings of the Central Audit Committee on the Life Sport programme Rowley expressed little confidence, describing them as “very restrictive.”
The Malabar Football Club, in particular, Rowley said, was paid some $59,000 a month and that sum was approved shortly after Anil Roberts became sport minister. Roberts resigned from his ministerial post last Thursday. He resigned as MP yesterday and his seat was declared vacant.
“In June, when the Government came into office, approval was granted for Malabar Football Club to receive $59,000 a month. The request for the monies was to be used to pay a chairman, a vice chairman, a coach, a secretary and stipend for 18 players,” Rowley said. He said he had written to Roberts asking for $40,000 for the Diego Martin Football league, but received no reply.
In the Ministry of Works, Rowley claimed, there were similar acts of corruption taking place, adding: “Life Sport is just a window into the nature of governance of the Government.”