OVER $6.4 million in financial discrepancies have been unearthed by the Auditor General in the accounts managed by the Authorisation Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) under the chairmanship of Anthony Harford, Sport Minister Anil Roberts claimed yesterday.
And despite several letters written by the Permanent Secretary of the Sport Ministry Ashwin Creed to Harford, many of the questions surrounding the multi-million dollar discrepancies still remain unanswered, Roberts said yesterday.
Roberts made the statements during his contribution to the 2012/2103 budget debate, held at the Lower House, located at Tower D of the Port of Spain International Waterfront.
Roberts said during the "failed" qualification attempt for the Brazil 2014 World Cup, the Harford-chaired Authorisation Committee of the TTFF was given $11 million by the Sport Ministry.
To date, however, close to half of those funds still remain unaccounted for, Roberts said.
Roberts said on March 17, Creed wrote Harford "saying that there were some discrepancies and lack of information indicating any further payments will be on hold until such proper accounting processes, paper work and invoices were given".
Roberts said on July 6 another letter was sent to Harford "stating that he still had not presented the accounts and
invoices as requested".
On September 12, Creed wrote Harford and outlined the "significant discrepancies" unearthed by the auditor general.
The "significant discrepancies" uncovered by the Auditor General were the unanswered expenditure of over $5.3 million and an "unexplained difference" of over $129,000.
"An incomplete financial statement has been submitted for the sum of $11 million paid to your organisation by the Ministry of Sport.
A financial statement totalling 5,611,933.25 million were submitted creating a statement of expenditure difference of 5,388,066.75 which is yet to be submitted by your organisation," Roberts said as he read the letter.
"On the statement of expenses of the amount allocated to the TTFF coaching staff, officials, players' salaries, match fees was listed as $2,579,000 however the amount reflected on the statement attached is $2,449,000 as such there is an unexplained difference of $129,970," Roberts read. The Auditor General also discovered that Harford paid himself over $900,000, Roberts said.
"When the Auditor General went through the statement it was seen that Mr Anthony Harford is the director of All Sport Promotions and Mr Anthony Harford as head of the authorisation committee of the TTFF marketing when given $11 million of taxpayers' money, he went on to pay himself from himself to All Sport Promotions the sum of $936,250 for promotions he paid himself to himself," Roberts said.
Roberts said up to date no explanation has been sent by Harford.
A subsequent letter was sent on Monday.
Roberts said the Sport Ministry has now opted to fund the national men's football team's participation in the upcoming Caribbean Cup by bypassing Harford's "interference".
Roberts called on Opposition Leader Dr keith Rowley to apologise for misleading the public in the Parliament yesterday.