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Residents unaware of Life Sport centres

By Julien Neaves Monday, July 28 2014

click on pic to zoom in
LA BREA CENTRE: The La Brea Recreation Ground which was said to be one of the facilities which was under the now defunct Life Sport programme....
LA BREA CENTRE: The La Brea Recreation Ground which was said to be one of the facilities which was under the now defunct Life Sport programme....

MISSING centres; $5 million for vocational training that was not done, and $2.5 million for sporting equipment were some of the revelations in the Finance Ministry’s Audit Report into the Life Sport Programme.

In the report the Central Audit Committee was “unable to locate Malabar Train Line 1 and 2, Beetham Gardens and Covigne Road LS (Life Sport) Centres during the visits made to the listed addresses”.

“Residents in Beetham Gardens who were contacted claimed they were unaware of the existence of such a centre,” the report added.

Train Line residents were similarly unaware of the existence of LS centres.

A site visit to the Beetham Community Centre uncovered there was neither a physical location nor any Life Sport activity located at the address provided for the centre “however, payments for June 2014 revealed that 30 lunches were catered and paid”.

Of the four centres three of them - Beetham, Malabar Train Line 1 and Malabar Train Line 2- were new centres created with the downsizing of the Fyzabad, Mayaro and La Horquetta centres.

Central Audit also discovered that the Four Roads and Cocorite Community Centres, out of which the Four Roads and Cocorite LS Centres were supposed to be operating, have never been used for the LS Programme.

“Furthermore, the coordinator for the Four Roads Centre stated that the centre has been operating from his home while some older centres are still operating out of churches, pan-yards and savannahs,” the report added.

Also the community centre from which the Barataria LS Centre was supposed to have functioned “has been under construction for quite a number of years and is still incomplete”.

Central Audit also found at the four centres and at the Cocorite centre no activities were observed but in almost all instances monthly stipend payments were made to the approved number of participants enrolled. At a number of other centres payments were made according to enrollment and not according to the attendance register.

The report also revealed that five companies were awarded contracts for vocational training in 2013 totalling more than $5.6 million but “centres visited revealed that the vocational training component was never implemented”.

“It is therefore questionable as to how invoices could have been signed off as ‘service provided satisfactorily’ and ‘certified correct’ and subsequently paid for,” the report added.

None of the companies that submitted invoices had VAT registration numbers displayed as required due to the amounts.

The report also revealed that “little known company” Epic Sports Plus (ESP) was engaged to supply football, basketball and cricket kits and equipment for the programme without any tendering process and in August 2013 there were four invoices totalling $2,553,210.

The breakdown is as follows: $664,950 for football jerseys, shorts and balls; $880,110 for football boots, socks, shin guards, goal posts and goal post nets; $513,150 for basketball tops, shorts, nets and balls; and $495,000 for cricket shirts, pants, wickets, bats and balls.

Central Audit described the cost of the items as “exorbitant” and noted that it “could not verify that these items were delivered and properly distributed”. Central Audit noted that Programme Director, Cornelius Price, and Assistant Programme Director (Administration), Theodore Charles were asked about the criteria in selecting ESP and a number of other companies, and the exorbitant prices that were paid.

“However, both individuals were unable to provide adequate answers to the issues raised,” the report added.

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