Saturday, December 16, 2017

AG aims to recover $34m

Ramlogan reviewing LifeSport audit

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says he’s reviewing the audit conducted by the Central Audit Committee of the Ministry of Finance into LifeSport to look at the areas where he can recover taxpayers’ money.

He also indicated his intention to review the $34 million contract signed by the SporTT and educator Adolphus Daniell to determine whether sums can be recovered.

The audit commissioned by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in the wake of financial irregularities in the programme has revealed that Daniell’s company, EBeam Interact, was paid $34 million but no work was ever executed.

“I am particularly disturbed about any payments made in respect of contracts for which there was no work and if restitution is an option then legal redress will be pursued,” he told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday.

“I am in the process of reviewing the report and if there are grounds for civil action, then I will most certainly explore and pursue,” he said.

In an interview with the Sunday Express this week, Daniell said he would not return the $34 million he earned from the programme because he did not default in his part of the contractual arrangement. 

Rather, it was the Sport Company that defaulted on its end of the arrangement because it did not provide the necessary infrastructure, which was part of its contract for him to execute his services.

Daniell said there was never a complaint by the Sport Company that the work he was contracted to do was never implemented.

EBeam was paid two instalments of $17 million—the first payment represented 50 per cent of the fee, on September 2, 2013 while the second payment was made on February 11, 2014.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar laid the audit in Parliament and said she had forwarded a copy of it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Commissioner of Police, Integrity Commission and head of the Public Service for action.

The audit revealed the programme has been riddled with financial irregularities, had co-ordinators with criminal backgrounds, massive fraud, millions misspent, ghost centres, ghost participants, improper procurement, and theft.

While millions were lost in padded invoices to contractors, Daniell’s $34 million payment was the single biggest payment of the programme for no work.

SporTT is currently awaiting legal advice from senior State counsel Russell Martineau on a way forward or what actions, if any, can be taken against EBeam.