Thursday, February 22, 2018

Boxing board chairman ‘knocked out’


fired: Deopersad Ramoutar

Mark Fraser

Suspended chairman of the T&T Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC) Deopersad Ramoutar has been fired.

Ramoutar was given his termination letter yesterday by officials of the Ministry of Sport.

Sources say following his termination, board secretary Vijay Bhaggan was appointed to head the TTBBC.

The Express understands Bhaggan is a hospital administrator at the Mt Hope Maternity Hospital and is also a former administrator for football club San Juan Jabloteh.

Sources say an attorney who is employed with the Ministry of Transport is also tipped to replace Bhaggan on the board as his elevation has now left a vacancy. 

The decision to revoke Ramoutar’s appointment was made by Cabinet last week, sources said.

Contacted for a comment yesterday, TTBBC vice chairman Imtiaz Zaid Mohammed confirmed Bhaggan’s appointment, stating he was “looking forward to future endeavours and I am optimistic that things will work out following the months of controversy. I can also say we plan on getting things back on track where boxing is concerned”. 

Efforts to contact Ramoutar and Sport Minister Anil Roberts were unsuccessful and several messages left were not returned.

Ramoutar’s termination comes on the heels of his suspension last year following questionable financial transactions.

His suspension took effect on December 10, and came following a board of directors’ meeting on October 16.

The board comprises Mohammed, Bhaggan, members Shama Stroude, Neale Greaves, Keven Antoine and Colin Mills.

In a series of Express investigations, documents obtained showed that on December 10, 2013, Mohammed wrote Ramoutar stating the decision to suspend him was “unanimous”.

In his letter, Mohammed expressed displeasure when “it was discovered that you wrote cheques in your favour without the knowledge and approval of the board”.

Copies of the cheques obtained by the Express: August 30, 2013 — $3,000, October 15 — $2,000, August 27 — $5,000 and October 16 — $10,000, showed Ramoutar’s name as receiving monies. 

The cheques were made out to Ramoutar and signed by himself and Greaves. 

A fifth cheque totalling $30,000 was made out to the Amateur Association of T&T (AATT).

Ramoutar in an interview with the Express last month admitted he did in fact make cheques out in his name but said his actions were above board .

Ramoutar had said at present the TTBBC is fragmented and as far as he is concerned the board does not have any jurisdiction to suspend him.

In January, a  dossier of documents containing financial statements and cheques were handed over to detectives of the Fraud Squad.

The documents were obtained from the TTBBC and sent anonymously to the police .

Among the documents were 27 cheques signed and cashed by a senior TTBBC member. The documents were also forwarded to the Auditor’s General Department and the Integrity Commission.

 Documents showed $4.75 million unaccounted for, sources said. 

The monies were given to the board by the ministry in a bid to liquidate debts. Sources say Cabinet approved the allocation for boxing.

The debts included paying off  over 24 coaches.

Sources say the names of companies which allegedly funnelled the monies were also contained in the files.