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Small companies earn big $$ under Life Sport

Published: 
Sunday, August 10, 2014

Missing documents from the Central Audit Unit (CAU) details an unchecked financial feeding frenzy under the now defunct Life Sport programme. One company, less than two months old, earned almost a million dollars in a single contract, while another was invited to supply educational training and sporting equipment at over $2 million.

Since the CAU report into the controversial Life Sport programme was tabled by the Prime Minister in Parliament on July 2, it has been riddled with criticism from at least four different groups including former Sport minister Anil Roberts and his permanent secretary Ashwin Creed, Life Sport director Cornelius Price, and now the board of directors at the Sport Company of T&T. 

Chief among the controversial omissions are the missing appendices from the tabled Life Sport programme which was obtained by the Sunday Guardian and shows evidence of a feeding frenzy under the defunct multi-million dollar programme.

The missing appendices show several companies earning hefty payouts mere months after being legally registered. Some of these companies show no accounting documents or evidence of experience, yet were paid over $900,000 for work under the Life Sport programme. These companies were first highlighted by Independent Liberal Party (ILP) chairman Jack Warner moments before Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar tabled the document. 

According to the Ministry of Legal Affairs company registry database, one company, Allsnorth General Contractors, was officially registered on July 31, 2013, and according to the Life Sport appendices, earned $928,000 by September 27, 2013, less than two months later.
• Allsnorth General Contractors’ invoice details payments for a basic course in air conditioning and refrigeration and a basic course in electrical installation.
• Another company, Kardian Construction and Property Management supplied three invoices for cleaning work at the Carapo Community Centre, the Pinto Road Community Centre and the La Horquetta Regional Complex.

For a one-month period, from May 1-31, Kardian Construction claimed $37,900 in the first invoice and $37,580 for the other two, respectively. Scope of works included “clean and polish all stainless steel appliances such as refrigerators” at $3,900, spot clean all windows and other glass panes for $4,000 and spot clean all doors, light switches and walls at a cost of $2,200 for the month. 
• Yet another company, Reno Energy Corporation presented the identical scope of works for maintenance of three different fields.

According to the appendices, Reno Energy tendered for refurbishment, upkeep and maintenance of the Fyzabad Recreation Ground, the Tabaquite Recreational Grounds and the Chrissie Trace Recreational Facilities in Enterprise. The first two fields were maintained at a cost of $199,582 each, while the Enterprise field cost $199,852 a month.

The breakdown of the scope of works shows Reno Energy charged the Life Sport programme $20,300 to remove all weeds and knott grass from the fields and an additional $30,400 for services and supplies “not limited to weed killers and fertilizers.” Reno Energy charged a further $14,250 to clean and maintain the playing surface.

According to the company registration, one director of Reno Energy also had a secondary company which was contracted to provide meals to 65 participants and charged $91,000 for meals for 20 days. This catering company, named Jolene Legere, is not listed on the Companies Registry.
• Meanwhile, Kadeem and Associates provided invoices for training at a cost of $970,000 but was also invited by Life Sport to send a quotation for the supply of uniforms, sports equipment and team kits. That quotation came in at over $2 million.
• A further 38 caterers earned over $3 million in June 2014. 

Thirty-three of those caterers earned $86,450 for providing 65 breakfasts and lunches over the course of 19 days.