T&T Football Association president David John-Williams is alleging fraud by the United T&TFA over their use of a letter of commitment from the Junior Sammy Group of Companies as a potential sponsor, if the group is elected into office at the association's Annual General Meeting (AGM) and election on November 24.
Concerns arose on Monday after the Junior Sammy Group issued a release denying it had made any financial commitment to the United TTFA's election campaign.
In a hastily arranged press conference at the Home of Football in Couva on Monday, John-Williams said there appeared to be a forged signature on the letter presented to the media on Saturday bearing the alleged signature of Hugh Murphy as Junior Sammy Group chairman.
Junior Sammy Group executive chairman Junior Sammy, however, distanced his company from any affiliation with the United TTFA in the media release on Monday.
"It has been brought to our attention that an undated letter bearing our group's logo was presented at a meeting held on Saturday by the United TTFA slate, purporting that our group of companies supports Mr Wallace and the United TTFA Slate in the upcoming TTFA elections to be held on November 24, 2019. We have also been advised that the letter was highlighted in the presentation and is now available on the various social media platforms.
"The company wishes to advise that no such letter has been issued by the office of the chairman of our group of companies or authorised to be issued by any of our companies within the group for that matter. We, therefore, call on the publishers of the presentation to immediately remove this false document from its releases and to issue a suitably worded retraction regarding such grave misrepresentation."
The release added, "Our group of companies has always supported the various administration of the TTFA in their efforts to develop and promote the talents of our youth on the national and international arenas s part of our corporate social responsibility thrust and has enjoyed a healthy and amicable relationship with it."
Guardian Media Sports learnt that Murphy is not the Junior Sammy Group chairman but an employee at the company. Further, investigations also revealed that Murphy did not sign the letter presented at Saturday's launch of the United TTFA team of candidates at the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
Yesterday, John-Williams, the incumbent TTFA president, said upon hearing the news he sought to do damage control as the Junior Sammy Group has always been one of the TTFA's corporate partners. He hinted that there could be serious consequences out of this latest development.
During Saturday's at the Queen's Park Oval launch, William Wallace, who heads United TTFA slate, told a large audience that he had received commitments, written and verbally, from local and international companies who were prepared to support the United TTFA if they got into office. Apart from the Junior Sammy Group, global sportswear giants Nike headed the list of international sponsors he named.
John-Williams maintained that comment about the situation was in no way a ploy to benefit his re-election campaign but said he felt he had to maintain the TTFA's relationship with the Junior Sammy Group of Companies.
When contacted on the issue yesterday, however, Wallace had a different view.
"I saw two different things, John-Williams saying it was a fraud. I saw Junior Sammy saying it was unauthorised and my investigation indicated to me that it was unauthorised. Just as we have people working for us internationally, we have people on the ground here in T&T working for us," Wallace said.
However, he refused to acknowledge that the letter was fake.
"We received three letters of intent which we received during the presentation and therefore here was no reason to doubt anything. As a matter of fact, one of the persons who sent that letter was sitting in the room, of Caribbean Chemicals. I subsequently found out that that letter (from Junior Sammy Group of Companies) was sent out by an administrative staff and that person is actually willing to send a letter of apology to both the United TTFA and the Junior Sammy Group of Companies."
He added, "From what I gather, discussions did take place between the Chief Executive Officer of the company Mr Murphy and the person within the administrative staff who sent out the letter on behalf of of the company. That discussion did take place but I think the person went ahead before any final decision was made."
Wallace, the current president of the Secondary School Football League (SSFL), said what was important to make clear is that the United TTFA was not part of crafting any letter. He said he will have more information soon but he said he did not foresee this development hampering their chances at the election as they had agreements with many other companies still on the table.
John-Williams calls for police probe.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
Jr Sammy denies agreement with United TTFA –
THE UNITED TTFA (TT Football Association) is being accused of presenting a false document, allegedly issued by the Junior Sammy Group of Companies, at their election campaign launch, on Saturday, at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair.
But William Wallace, the United TTFA’s presidential nominee, has admitted that the document (an undated letter bearing the group’s logo and purporting that the company supports Wallace and his team at the November 24 TTFA elections), was an error from someone seeking sponsorship for the group, in the event that they emerge victorious in the elections.
According to a media release signed by Junior Sammy, executive chairman of the Junior Sammy Group of Companies, “The Company wishes to advice that no such letter has been issued by the office of the chairman of our group of companies or authorised to be issued by any of our companies within the group for that matter.”
The media release read, “Our group of companies has always supported the various administrations of the TTFA in their efforts to develop and promote the talents of our youth on the national and international arenas, as part of our corporate social responsibility thrust and has enjoyed a healthy and amicable relationship with it.”
TTFA president David John-Williams, in a hastily-arranged media conference, at the Home of Football, Balmain, Couva yesterday, said, “I met with the Junior Sammy Group (yesterday), purely to address the situation and do some damage control.
“As president of the TTFA, I met with them to do some damage control...The rest is going to be left with the Police Service. I call upon them to investigate this matter seriously because it involves a forged document being used (and) forged signatures being appended. The TTFA is utterly dismayed and apologises to the Junior Sammy Group for what has transpired.”
Wallace, in a response last evening, commented, “(United TTFA) have a couple people who have been working, trying to get some sponsorship for us on the ground. We received three letters of intent from two of those persons – Junior Sammy Group of Companies being one of them, Joe Pires Caribbean Chemicals and the Club House.
“It came (with) a letterhead and signed by the CEO of Junior Sammy Group of Companies,” he added. “Now that we’re hearing this, an investigation has taken place and we found out that one of the persons who’s actually seeking sponsorship for us – an administrative person working for that person – sent out that letter. That letter should not have been sent out.”
Wallace, who is also the president of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL), said, “This has put us in a very funny place and we have decided that the (wrongful) person will issue a letter of apology to us, to the Junior Sammy Group of Companies and to (their) CEO.”
John-Williams, during yesterday’s media conference, said, “People would see (this) as an election ploy. No, it is not. This is only one of a few statements that (are) going to be coming out by the TTFA.”
John-Williams pointed out, “Junior Sammy has been a big corporate sponsor for us achieving what we have achieved with the Home of Football. They’ve invested over $1 million in equipment to bring a facility like this to fruition. They have been a very good corporate sponsor. It’s unfortunate something like this had to happen.”
However, John-Williams remained coy about if he will be seeking re-election. “When the time is ready for that announcement, I would make it,” he said. “It’s for the electoral committee to announce.”
About his four-year-long tenure thus far, the TTFA boss said, “My track record speaks for itself.” And John-Williams gave a new time frame for the opening of the Home of Football. “I can say publicly that this facility will be opening within the next two weeks. I’ll leave it like that. I don’t want people to say that I’m making an election campaign.”