Sunday, December 17, 2017

Howai: Police probing LifeSport officials

Police are on the case with respect to investigations into LifeSport as they have been in contact with Finance Ministry officials for information, Finance Minister Larry Howai disclosed  yesterday.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet media conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, Howai also said he stands by the audit report into LifeSport.

“There is nothing certainly that I’ve heard that suggest that the final and ultimate conclusion of the report could be thrust aside in any particular way. I think the audit stands...what it found is what it found and I think that the auditors can certainly defend the information  and I understand that the police have already been in contact with various members of the Ministry of Finance regarding the findings of the report in order to get further and additional information so they can move forward with their investigations,” said Howai.

The minister noted there have been views that the report contained inaccuracies.

He pointed out that the report, on Page 6, made it known very early that information was requested but was not forthcoming although numerous requests were made.

“At the end of the day...if I can summarise it, there isn’t anything that has been raised which invalidates in my own view any of the findings of the report itself, I think the report can stand,” said Howai. He said a newspaper report gave the impression that the report was “missing” pages. 

Howai explained the report which was laid in Parliament did not contain the appendices, but, this was later corrected.

The minister added that he did receive a copy a report from the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT) but did not get time to go through it in detail and preferred not to comment on it. Questioned on whether he believes he should be kept more in the loop with respect to expenditure of programmes at various ministries, Howai said it was just not possible and there are systems in place to ensure transparency and accountability.

“At the end of the day everything is dependent on people and if you don’t have the right people in the right place, you could find situations where the processes and procedures break down,” said Howai.