PORT-OF-SPAIN – Former special adviser to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, Jack Warner, has blasted a CONCACAF integrity report – which accuses him of financial fraud – as a deliberate plan to mislead.
Warner, former national security minister in the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration, also questioned the procedure used to gather the information, describing it as flawed.
The report accused Warner of using deceptive methods to secure funds from CONCACAF and FIFA, as well as induce FIFA to transfer funds earmarked for development purposes to bank accounts he controlled.
“The procedure used to gather information was flawed because it authorised counsel to conduct necessary interviews in person, by telephone and without reference to the committee,” said Warner, in a written statement read out during a news conference in Port-of-Spain Tuesday.
“In other words, some people did not even know why they were giving the information. These witnesses imparted their information without taking oath and in the absence of the members of the committee, who must now look at that information and make findings.”
Warner has since resigned from his posts as minister of national security, chairman of the United National Congress and MP for Chaguanas West after the CONCACAF report condemning his actions was published.He told journalists that he has had consultations with three eminent legal minds in Justice Zainool Hosein, Andrew Mitchell, QC, and Bertram E. Commissiong, QC, regarding the charges levelled in the report.
“However, the lawyers concluded that the committee made clear pronouncements as to the culpability and guilt of Jack Warner. These are not and cannot be supported by the evidence and the facts,” said the embattled Warner.
“The conclusions appear to be driven by a desire to castigate, malign and punish rather than to present a true and fair representation of the state of affairs and/or the circumstances surrounding a number of transactions addressed in the committee’s report.”
The CONCACAF report also claims that Warner accepted money intended for FIFA that landed into his personal bank accounts.
But Warner said he was not questioning the quality of the committee members, comprised of Sir David Simmons, Judge Ricardo Urbina and Ernesto Hempe, “but the independence and fairness of both the process and findings”.
“I want you to be mindful of our past that Jack Warner has been sanctioned, castigated and maligned; treated as guilty without due process or an investigation into the publication of documents to determine its veracity or validity,” said Warner.
“I have been a victim of a degree of intrigue and collusion of the highest level.”