Roberts: Fire Howai
By CLINT CHAN TACK Thursday, August 7 2014
FORMER Sport Minister Anil Roberts yesterday rejected a statement by the Finance Ministry that the Life Sport audit was not doctored. In doing so, he demanded that Finance Minister Larry Howai be fired. Roberts also said he is prepared to assist the police in their investigation into the controversial Life Sport programme which cost him his Cabinet post and his seat in the House of Representatives.
“I am ready, willing and able to cooperate. Even the police have been misled by this false report,” he declared. In a statement on Tuesday, the Finance Ministry admitted that two pages of the legal opinion provided by attorney Lisa Solomon, Head Legal at the SPORTT Company, were “inadvertently” omitted.
The Ministry said this was a human lapse and not “a deliberate and insidious act of intent, creating any major flaw in the integrity of the investigation.” In response, Roberts said, “This shows the level of deceitfulness of the Ministry of Finance. It is not a mere two pages that are missing.” He declared this is “an incomplete flawed process that breached all principles of accounting practice, audit and natural justice.”
Roberts said the two pages are critical documentary evidence from a qualified legal mind whose advice flies in the face of the (central audit) committee’s damning, dangerous and false conclusion that $34 million was paid (to Ebeam Interact Limited), despite legal advice to the contrary.”
Saying that neither the Sport Ministry, SPORTT Company nor Life Sport’s management were given the opportunity to respond “to the draft document,” Roberts charged this “is unacceptable at best and fraudulent at worst!”
Reiterating his question about how such a document could have been presented to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to be laid in the House on July 25, Roberts declared, “ This audit is a prime example of incompetence, fabrication and falsehood being given to the highest office holder.”
Responding to Roberts, Finance Ministry officials insisted that Persad-Bissessar did not lay an incomplete report in the House and what was laid was in fact the final report, the officials said the ministry “has undertaken to ensure that corrected copies of the document were distributed to the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Parliament, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Commissioner of Police (CoP) as well as the Integrity Commission.”