Two months after receiving a court order to make an interim payment of $4.26 million dollars within 7 days, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation have yet to hand over a single dollar of the sum due to us, the 13 Soca Warriors of the 2006 World Cup Team.
This is the 6th Christmas our families and ourselves have to endure without our bonuses, remuneration for which we worked hard for and which the Trinidad and Tobago High Court agreed we deserved. This is a scandal of monumental proportions.
We have won legal decisions through arbitration in the UK and through the courts in Trinidad and Tobago, yet the TTFF has refused to comply with the law.
What is questionable is the fact that the TTFF continues to employ a battery of lawyers who, from all accounts, command very expensive fees given their standing in the legal world. Somehow the TTFF have managed to pay lawyers of this calibre but yet they have not paid us a dime.
We have been left with no other alternative but to begin bankruptcy proceedings against the TTFF to recover the money owed to us. Also, these proceedings will allow the an insolvency practioner to carefully scrutinise how every dollar was spent and examine the various accounts money may have entered.
Works Minister, Austin Jack Warner who was in charge of all income collected during the 2006 World Cup campaign was named by Oliver Camps in an affidavit as being the sole person with knowledge of the missing TTFF funds – believed to be in excess of $200 million.
Camps swore that despite frequent requests about the whereabouts of the true accounts and funds, Warner has ignored their requests. The TTFF’ accounts submitted to the High Court were deemed as “unaccountable” by the Honourable Justice Rampersad.
The Judge also identified several discrepancies that required further explanations. Why is Jack Warner refusing to produce accurate accounts?
Jack Warner was given responsibility to act on behalf of the TTFF but has failed to hand over accounts and funds rightfully belonging to the nations’ federation, including the bonuses owed to the players.
Why is Mr Warner refusing to be transparent, particularly given that a large portion of the missing money was given to the TTFF from the nation’s purse? And, more questionable is why haven’t we had one comment from the Honourable Prime Minister regarding this issue. Is it Warner’s intention to allow the TTFF to go bankrupt?
Where is the Sports Minister, Anil Roberts, in all of this? Surely as the Sports Minister, he must order the federation to pay its’ players before he allows the federation to receive tax payers’ money.
Why hasn’t Mr Roberts demanded accurate, full and final accounts from the 2006 Local Organizing Committee, run by Warner?
All Sports Promotions’ Tony Harford told Minister Roberts at the recent football consultation day that he had spoken to TTFF auditors KPMG who confirmed that the TTFF accounts were in order, but admitted that the question marks were around parallel accounts outside the control and preview of the TTFF. We feel that Minister Roberts cannot hide from these facts.
It is not the players’ wish to damage Trinidad and Tobago football. It has always been our desire to end this litigation speedily and fairly. However, if the TTFF refuses to adhere to the laws of the land we repeat – insolvency proceedings will begin against the TTFF in the New Year.
Lennox Watson must save his sinking ship. He has inherited an organization saddled with debts created by the previous executives mismanagement. Although not personally responsible for past events Mr Watson must act to save TTFF.
He promised a new dawn for Trinidad and Tobago football. Watson must pursue Warner to obtain the funds rightfully belonging to TTFF which can then be used to settle the players’ bonus dispute and the remaining millions can be used as they should be – to develop football in Trinidad and Tobago.
The major issue here, as well as why the players have not been paid, is WHERE DID ALL THE MONEY GO, MUCH OF IT GRANTED TO THE TTFF OUT OF PUBLIC FUNDS??? This is the question that has never been properly exposed outside of the Court process.
Below, is the analysis of the TTFF audited accounts that was carried out at the end of 2010 for the purpose of submissions to Court that was filed in court on 31st December 2010. (See paragraphs 15-18, 51-53, 67, and 73-90 for the specific facts relating to false and misleading accounting.)
Commercial: Breach of Contract
15. However it is clear that if Mr Camps has personally received money that was due to the First Defendant and was within the purview of the revenue sharing contract, or if he has diverted such money away from the First Defendant with a view to depriving the Claimants their share of it, then the Court should be in a position to order as against him restitution in appropriate terms depending on the precise facts.
16. There is now before this Court clear evidence that Mr Camps did receive money that was due to the First Defendant, and that he diverted that money away from the First Defendant. There is also evidence that Mr Camps concealed from the First Defendant’s auditors huge quantities of the First Defendant’s income. Mr Camps failed to inform the auditors that the accounts which he ultimately approved actually failed to include many millions of $ that had been received by the First Defendant during the relevant periods (or where at least due to the First Defendant and should have been received by the First Defendant). This income (from government sources, FIFA and sponsors) should have been evident from a simple examination of the bank accounts of the First Defendant, but apparently it was not.
17. Mr Camps, in his capacity as President of the First Defendant, ‘approved’ accounts that failed to record millions of TT$ of revenue that he would have readily appreciated were missing from those accounts.
18. The Second Defendant’s conduct, now established on the evidence submitted by Mr Groden on 10th December 2010, is such that there appear good grounds for believing that this Court will need to order remedies against the Second Defendant in order to give effect to the terms of the contract between the First Defendant and the Claimants.
51. Evidence adduced by the Defendants during the Arbitration shows that Mr Camps took personal possession of two cheques in early May 2006 that have not been recognised in the accounts that have now been disclosed for the First Defendant and LOC 2006.
52. On 1st May 2006 Mr Camps personally signed the cover letter from Roger Boynes, then Minister for Sport, which enclosed the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s cheque for TT$14,487,070.50, which was payable to “T & T Football Federation”. That cheque never made it into the ‘official’ bank account of the First Defendant. We know this because that cheque was roughly twice the total income identified by KPMG in their audit of the 2006 period (see Attachment 5).
53. On the 5th May 2006 Mr Camps personally signed a receipt for TT$3,000,000 from Atlantic LNG which was drawn in favour of LOC 2006 but this is not disclosed in the latest Rampersad schedule of LOC income (see Attachment 6).
67. The Defendants have produced four sets of accounts so far since October 2006 all purporting to deal with the Claimants entitlement.
- First we had the Player Account.
We ask, rhetorically, how were the players ever going to understand the Player Account, other than the basic fact that it resulted in an insultingly low figure?
- Secondly, around the same time as the Player Account was proffered another set of accounts appeared on the First Defendant’s web site.
- Next came the Rampersad Disclosure in which the Sponsorship Income is re-stated as a mere TT$6, 572,024.
- Now we have the Groden affidavit of 10th December 2010 and the Second Rampersad Disclosure. We now see a completely new figure for sponsorship of TT$35,334,382 in cash AND TT$18,260,000 worth of sponsorship value ‘in kind’. Sponsors who appeared in the earlier accounts are now shown to have paid much more than was previously disclosed. And this latest account of sponsorship income is also woefully incomplete as identified below.
73. This Submission has already commented on the manifest unreliability of the KPMG audit. In truth the audits represent shoddy and totally unreliable pieces of work. Both the officers of the First Defendant and KPMG share the blame. No doubt the officers did not volunteer relevant information but KPMG do not seem to have looked for it either. A simple ‘desk top’ based exercise via the internet (a simple ‘Google search’) would have thrown up much of the relevant information that is absent from these accounts. This information includes the fact of the Arbitration Award, the fact that the TTFF were replete with sponsors during 2006, that TTFF were the recipients of a large FIFA grant, and the allegation that the company received 173m of government money (see ‘Bobol’ article, Express Newspaper, 14th September 2007 Attachment 10). The Defendants’ lawyers will be bristling at the suggestion that the auditors should have listened to something as flimsy (as they will no doubt want to describe it) as a press article, or rely on Internet searches.
74. Proper enquiries by KPMG would have put them directly and precisely on notice that what they were being shown in terms of bank account statements was not consistent with what they should have seen. There are millions of TT$ unaccounted for in these accounts and either this money was never received by the First Defendant therefore it must have been diverted away from the First Defendant, or if it was received by the First Defendant it went into accounts hidden from KPMG during the audit process.
75. The principle feature of the KPMG accounts is the startling degree to which they fail to record millions of $ of revenue that we know the TTFF received from the Government, Government State Agencies and the Private sector; or should have received.
76. The accounts for 2006 and 2007 were prepared in November and December 2008, which was more than 6 months after the Arbitration Award and yet they make no mention of the significant contingent liability represented by the Award. It can be assumed that the auditors asked the usual questions of the company’s officers and professional advisers regarding outstanding litigation, arbitration and judgements etc. So why is this liability not recorded in the accounts?
77. The accounts contain the following very significant qualification.
‘…the Federation derives revenue from donations and grants, the completeness of which is not susceptible to satisfactory audit verification. Accordingly, our verification of those amounts was limited to amounts recorded in the accounts of the Federation…..
In our opinion, except for the effect of the adjustments, if any, which we might have determined to be necessary had we been able to satisfy ourselves concerning the completeness of the donations and grants referred to in the preceding paragraph, the financial statements….present fairly…the financial position of the Federation…’’
In other words the auditors could not in fact certify the accounts as accurately presenting a fair view of the financial position of the First Defendant. It appears that the auditors did not enquire of the obvious donors (the identity of which was well known to the audit firm), namely the Government through its Ministry of Sport or FIFA, as to how much they had given to the First Defendant. If they had done so they would have realised that almost none of that income had been recorded in the accounts of the First Defendant.
78. The conduct of KPMG is even more surprising when you consider that their role, as they themselves describe it under ‘Auditor’s responsibility’, is to ‘plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement……An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error.”
Any auditor that sets out to establish that the accounts he has been provided with are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, is under a heavy responsibility to carry out some checks that meet the minimum definition of due diligence. This is even more so with a company largely funded by government investment. Obviously KPMG failed in that duty.
Surprisingly KPMG felt able to report that ‘We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinion.’
79. Each set of audited accounts has been approved personally by the Second Defendant (and his Vice-President). How could Oliver Camps have certified these accounts as accurate, or approved them? In the years 2005 and 2006 they disclose a TOTAL income of TT$11,610,992 from all sources, where has all the many millions that we know were committed to the First Defendant from government, FIFA and private entities gone? Take the FIFA award, according to the Director of Finance in his letter of 15th November 2006 to the federation he would only transfer funds to the ‘official account’ of the Federation. Where are those monies, they were not shown to KPMG, what bank account did they go into? They are nominally accounted for in the un-audited LOC 2006 accounts recently produced by Mr Kenny Rampersad but it seems highly unlikely given the FIFA letter that these funds were actually received into the bank account of LOC 2006 Ltd.
80. Where is the cheque for TT$14,487,070.50 issued by the Ministry on 1st May 2006 payable to “T&T Football Federation” which was signed for as received personally by the 2nd Defendant? That cheque was endorsed ‘A/C Payee Only’ so it had to be paid into an account of some kind which either was or purported to be that of the 1st Defendant, and yet it was clearly NOT deposited in any of the bank accounts that KPMG had access to. In relation to this cheque what we do know is that on the 1st May 2006 Oliver Camps had possession of it. We know it never hit the disclosed bank accounts of the First Defendant, so Mr Camps needs to explain what he did with it.
81. Notwithstanding Mr Camps’ recent affidavit at least one plausible explanation about what happened to the 1st May 2006 cheque is that it was paid into a ‘dummy account’ opened in the name of the First Defendant by the Second Defendant under the apparent authority of his sole trader business/business names registration.
82. The Claimants’ are possibly not due a share of this 1st May cheque but the evidence of misappropriation is relevant to their claims and the relief they seek on the First Extant Application. It suggests that the First Defendant operated through bank accounts that were not disclosed to their auditors, and therefore there may well be commercial revenue going into those accounts that the Claimants should share in.
83. These audited accounts also reinforce the fact that the Defendants routinely understated their income by a very wide margin, whether in these proceedings or generally. It also calls into question, in a significant way, the credibility of the Defendants, and in this regard particularly the 2nd Defendant, when it comes to believing anything they are prepared to admit by way of accounting.
84. According to the Second Rampersad Disclosure LOC 2006 made a profit of TT36,000,000; where has that money gone? It can’t be in the accounts of the Federation for 2006 or 2007 as it exceeds the total income in each of those years, and for the two years combined.
85. Based on the letter of 21st February 2004 (Attachment 11) whereby Mr Warner on behalf of the First Defendant authorises LOC to act as ‘Negotiating Agent’ for the TTFF it can be assumed that any profit should have been remitted across to LOC’s principal, i.e. the First Defendant.
86. It is clear that the Defendants cannot be trusted to produce accurate accounts to anyone, even when submitting to an audit by a reputable international firm. They have failed to do so on every occasion when they have disclosed financial information relevant to this case and to their wider accounting obligations for the period encompassing the 2006 World Cup and qualifying campaign.
The First Defendant disburses payments through third party bank accounts.
87. There is evidence that the First Defendant used the accounts of the Caribbean Football Union to pay the settlement amount to Chris Birchall and that it used the bank account of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) to repay the Charity Withheld moneys. See exhibits to affidavit of Second Defendant filed on 25th November 2010 and the copy bank drafts attached thereto. The payment to Birchall was by the order of the Caribbean Football Union and their account with the back was debited with US$ 30,004.64. Whereas the settlement payments to Andrews were by the order of the First Defendant. The drafts issued to repay the Charity Withheld monies however were by order of CONCACAF. It appears significant that all three organisations appear to hold their accounts at the same branch of the same bank. They all appear to bank at the Tragarete Branch of the Republic Bank Ltd. This would make it that much easier to mingle funds between the three organisations.
88. There would appear to be no reason why these third party organisations would be holding funds for the First Defendant or disbursing sums on its behalf. These payments do however provide another clue as to where the TTFF revenue (or part of it) may have ended up.
89. The use of these accounts by the First Defendant adds to the overwhelming sense of lack of transparency and to a feeling that there may be an intermingling of funds as between the TTFF, the CFU and CONCACAF.
90. Note also that the Web Site Account was addressed to Mr Warner in his capacity as President of CONCACAF.