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IT WAS ANIL

$34m for no work in LifeSport, Howai: Sport Minister brought Daniell to Ministry of Finance

By Asha Javeed asha.javeed@trinidadexpress.com

Finance Minister Larry Howai says it was Sports Minister Anil Roberts who brought Adolphus Daniell, the educator who was paid $34 million from the LifeSport programme for no work, to his ministry.
“Mr Daniell was brought by Minister Roberts and officers of the Ministry of Sport to meet with the Ministry of Finance to demonstrate how the programme would work. After the demonstration, nothing further was heard about this initiative as far as I am aware,” said Howai in an e-mail response to questions from the Express.
The minister was responding to questions on why Daniell was solely selected for the project and whether Daniell’s $34 million contract was sent to Cabinet for approval, given the quantum of it.
“This particular contract was approved by the Sport Company (SporTT), not by the ministry. State enterprises can and do enter into contracts without Cabinet’s approval. As far as I can recall, Cabinet would not have been aware of this contract at the time that it was approved. The Ministry of Sport proceeded with it through the Sport Company rather than through the Ministry of Sport itself,” Howai explained.
The audit commissioned by Prime Minis­ter Kamla Persad-Bissessar into LifeSport had revealed that Daniell’s company, EBeam Interact, was paid $34 million, but no work was ever executed.
The audit noted: “It is obvious that SporTT was a party to this contract mainly because the contract was above the autho­rised limit of the permanent secretary, Minis­try of Sport. It is evident that the ‘mind and management’ of this contract has always been and continues to be the Ministry of Sport. The contract was drafted by MOS (Ministry of Sport) Legal, and all the conditions necessary to satisfy the readiness of the centres for the start of the Numeracy and Learning Component (N&LC) were always the responsibility of the Ministry of Sport.”
In an interview with the Sunday Express, Daniell had 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.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Daniell pointed out the audit had echoed his sentiments that the centres were not in a state of readiness.
Daniell quoted from the audit, which stated: “Central Audit noted that most of the centres visited were not in a state of readiness to accommodate the N&LC. To name a few, Covigne Road, Four Roads, Cocorite, Bagatelle, River Estate, St Paul Street, Morvant, Barataria, Carapo, Pinto Road, Malabar Train Line 1 and 2, etc.
“Furthermore, a number of participants have indicated their interest in pursuing vocational training instead of learning mathematics and English. These factors, together with the significant reduction in attendance, may have further reduced the number of participants interested in the N&LC of the programme.”
EBeam was paid two tranches of $17 million. The first tranche represented 50 per cent of the fee, on September 2, 2013. The second payment was done on February 11, 2014.
Daniell claimed it was because of him the programme was not shut down in 2013 and he had worked for the LifeSport programme for free. Daniell had said Howai could attest to this because of his meeting with him.
When the question was put to Howai, he said his only interaction with Daniell was in the meeting that Roberts had requested.
Asked to respond to the statement the audit was “sloppy”, made by LifeSport programme director Cornelius Price in a Sunday Guardian article yesterday, Howai responded: “I am not aware of the context in which the allegation that the audit was sloppy is being made, but all of the supporting documentation is available to support the various statements that were made in the audit.
“I expect that a lot of allegations will be made by various persons associated with the programme in a direct or indirect attempt to try to prove their innocence or even to drag as many persons through the mud with them as possible, but the Ministry of Finance and the Economy stands by the results of the audit and the professionalism of the senior officers of the Ministry and its overall position in this matter,” he stated.
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.
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 were some of the findings.
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 Russel Martineau on a way forward or what actions, if any, can be taken against EBeam.
The Express tried unsuccessfully yesterday to reach Roberts for comment by telephone calls and texts to his cellular phone.

‘Daniell Institute of Learning not
associated with Aldolphus Daniell’

Zakiya Daniel, managing director of the Daniell Institute of Learning, has denied Adolphus Daniell is in any way associated with the institute.
She was responding to a Sunday Express article.
Adolphus Daniell was named in the audit of the LifeSport programme as having received $34 million, but had done no work associated with the programme.
In a letter to the Express yesterday, Zakiya Daniel said Adolphus Daniell is her father.

Following is the letter
from Zakiya Daniel:
I refer to the article printed in today’s Express on Page 3, “Daniell gets $34m for LifeSport lessons”, in which a picture of the Daniell Institute of Learning building is featured captioned, “PLACE OF LEARNING: Daniell’s Educational Institute in St James yesterday. The school also has locations in Port of Spain and San Fernando.”
The Daniell Institute of Learning is in no way associated with the Mr Aldolphus Daniell, the subject of the article. Although I am Mr Daniell’s daughter, he is neither a director, co-owner, shareholder nor does he have any interest or involvement whatsoever in the company, Daniell Institute of Learning.
I am the owner of the Daniell Institute of Learning Limited. I did not receive so much as a telephone call to confirm whether my business bears any association to Adolphus Daniell. Furthermore, this article may negatively impact my business as members of the public may erroneously form the view as a result of your article and photograph, that my business is connected with Adolphus Daniell and/or the controversial LifeSport programme.

Yours sincerely,
Zakiya Daniel
Managing Director
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