WHILE Jack Warner is happily making maximum use of local media to promote his recently launched Independent Liberal Party (IPL), the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association (Concacaf) seems to be in no hurry to deal with his “pre-action protocol letter” to sue that regional football body for claimed wide-ranging allegations of fraud against him
Likewise, nor does Barbados’s retired chief justice Sir David Simmons, also recipient of such a “protocol letter”, appear in any way disturbed by Warner’s intent to sue him for libel.
Sir David was appointed by Concacaf’s executive committee to head an integrity committee to undertake a thorough investigation into widespread allegations of fraudulent management of the association’s business under Warner’s watch as president, along with then former general secretary Charles “Chuck” Blazer.
Informed readers would be aware that as one experienced senior counsel has pointed out, a “protocol letter” is not actually suing for alleged defamation of character. And as has often happened in previous cases, such action could be expediently withdrawn, or simply fail to be pursued.
However, while reputed “Anancy” politician Warner and former controversial Cabinet minister of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar ought not to be envied for the public relations-type media he attracts from sections of the local media, the implication of the executive summary of the Concacaf Integrity Committee Report deserves to be exposed for public attention.
Let it be recalled that the “executive summary” of the high-level integrity committee was officially made available to the Concacaf executive committee at their meeting in Panama City since April 19 this year.
Today, I share with readers some of the highlights. I am aware that the Express has previously focused on some aspects of the findings of the integrity committee which had commenced work back in September last year.
Here follows, for now, some of the startling findings/observations of the committee’s report—without any comment:
• Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer were central figures in this (Concacaf-authorised) investigation. The committee corresponded with Warner and Blazer in an effort to secure their participation in the investigation and their evidence, but each declined (my emphasis). Relevant correspondence with them by the committee is attached in the submitted report.
• But the lack of required evidence from both Warner and Blazer “was counterbalanced by credible documentary evidence that spoke clearly and cogently about the conduct of each of them…. In most instances, the documents provided a compelling account of what happened….”
After careful consideration of the totality of the evidence available to the committee, it was determined that on the balance of probabilities, the evidence supports the following conclusions which are addressed more thoroughly in this report: for instance, in connection with the Centre of Excellence and Concacaf operations in Trinidad and Tobago:
• “Warner committed fraud against Concacaf and FIFA; Warner committed fraud and misappropriated funds from FIFA; Warner and Blazer breached their fiduciary duties to Concacaf; Warner and Blazer violated the Concacaf Statutes; Warner violated the FIFA Ethics Code....”
Further, the integrity committee concluded that “Jack Warner committed fraud against Concacaf and FIFA in two ways:
“First, Warner secured funds from FIFA and Concacaf by falsely representing and intentionally creating a false impression that the land on which the CoE (Centre of Excellence) was developed was owned by Concacaf when he knew that it was in fact owned by his own companies.
“Secondly, “Warner induced FIFA to transfer funds, when he knew they were intended for development of the CoE, to himself personally by falsely representing that the bank accounts to which FIFA should send the funds were Concacaf accounts when he knew that in fact he controlled them personally….”
In the meanwhile, of course, Mr Warner continues to engage in political bragging rights over reported media responses to his few-weeks-old Independent Liberal Party, even as the Trinidad and Tobago Integrity Commission is reportedly considering becoming involved in probing corruption allegations swirling around the former National