The Sports Company of T&T has written off the $9.4m owed to it by the now defunct Life Sport programme. This was revealed in a report into the organisation’s financial performance by independent auditors Moore published in the press on Tuesday. The Life Sport debt goes back to the last government, where it was found that the programme was riddled with corruption and eventually shut down by former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in July 2014.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports yesterday, Chairman of the Sports Company Douglas Camacho said, “That would have been a receivable that would have been in the books for a number of years and under the accounting rules it is not likely that the receivables will be collected so we made the decision to write it off in this financial statement.”
But the report went further in showing that the Sports Company had paid out over $13.4m in a court settlement and expenses during 2019. When asked to clarify this expenditure, Camacho told Guardian Media Sports, “There are number of old matters before litigation, disputes over amounts and quantum.” He went further in explaining that a large chunk of that figure went to one contractor who was suing the organization for more than double than that of which was settled.
“The major part of that was a settlement for some work done where the contractor was claiming $25m and Sportt Company was saying that figure was way too high and we were able to settle for a lot less so we were able to get a settlement and resolve the matter in a fair way,” Camacho further stated.
While that lawsuit may have been settled, the report shows that the Sports Company owes creditors millions of dollars. Its current assets total $92m while non-current assets amount to $339m. Also, its current liabilities totalled $209m while its non-current liabilities was shown to be $335m. Current liabilities are those that need to be paid off within a three-year period while non-current are not dated.
Camacho said the Sports Company is at a disadvantage because it doesn’t generate income. He stated, “The struggle is that Sports Company, as a legal entity, does not have the right to collect revenue on its own behalf. All of the funds that the Sports Company receives are, in fact, grants from the government of T&T so that although we may have Hasely Crawford Stadium under our remit, when we rent it out for a concert and we collect revenue we don’t retain the money. We don’t have the right to retain. It all goes to the consolidated fund.”
Camacho said his organisation may have requested the funds and are not yet in receipt of it which would explain the figures.