Dear Ms Marajh,
If I choose to answer any one of your questions (as shown below) wrapped within your own expression of opinions and false judgment what I would be doing is validating character assassination posing as investigative journalism.
If one is asked a question on matters that never really existed in reality and it is denied, the headlines then scream “Jack Warner denies X” which simply places the fabrication out there and achieves the assassin’s true objective.
In Trinidad and Tobago, public officials, such as I, are expected, and rightly so, to be held accountable. I recognise and respect this and have never asked nor have been given any quarter in this regard. But shouldn’t there be equal accountability by any member of the media and the media house represented? Who investigates the background and agenda of the author of the investigative piece when bias is alleged by the hapless victim of any contrived story?
The right of you or anyone else to ask a question should be equally weighed by my own right to question the true intent of the reporter and the media organisation represented. My obligation to answer your questions for an article which I am advised will appear in your paper this Sunday must be equally met by your own dutiful obligation and that of your paper to be fair, unbiased, balanced and professional. In the absence of that I am released from my own duty to provide any responses to your many questions.
I can supply ample evidence of the blatantly biased reportage and defamatory articles on my family and me that have consistently appeared over time. Even pursuing legal action, which I have done on occasions, doesn’t subtract the damage already done and the purpose served by those who choose to destroy anyone’s name
From Ms Camini Marajh – For the attention of Mr Jack Warner
1. There have been conflicting accounts about who owns the Centre of Excellence (CoE). Key financial contributors to the Macoya sporting facility, FIFA and CONCACAF, are on record as saying that the property is owned by CONCACAF. You, Mr Warner, have added to the general confusion by naming different beneficial interests at different points in time. You have named CONCACAF, the CFU and even yourself as the real owner. Public records indicate CONCACAF never had legal title of the property and that at all times it was effectively owned by you through two of your private companies. Please explain the ownership structure of the CoE and the story of it being given to you as a gift by Joao Havelange. Did Mr Havelange in fact give it to you? Did you acquire it on your own? If so, how much did you pay for it? Who owns it?
2. Please explain the 2007 FCB bank charge related to the CoE and reports suggesting you did not have the authority and or requisite CONCACAF board approval for the $11 million borrowing. How much, if any, is still owed to the bank? What, if any, is CONCACAF’s financial obligation to this loan charge created by you? Comment also on Lisle Austin’s contention that he was duped into signing the mortgage by you. He has said he did not understand the five page document he signed in your office in 2007 to be a bank charge.
3. The Centre of Excellence is listed as a fixed asset on CONCACAF’s balance sheet. Can you explain this given the fact that you have legal title of the Macoya property?
4. Kenny Rampersad’s signature appears on a CONCACAF bank charge as a corporate officer in two of your private companies. The company records of both companies indicate that Rampersad was never associated with either of the two companies and that at the time in question, your son Daryan was the substantive company secretary. Can you please explain this?
5. The PWC forensic audit into the AFC accounts spoke of a US$250,000. cash payment made to you in 2008 by Mohammed Bin Hammam. What was this money for? And was it declared to the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR)?
6. You have been accused of serious financial improprieties and of manipulating the FIFA network over two decades for your personal benefit and that of your family. Comment please on the worldwide perception that you cannot be trusted with the truth, other people’s money or any money-making opportunity within your sphere of influence, including World Cup sponsorship revenue and WC broadcast rights for the Caribbean.
7. An Ernst and Young forensic audit found that you used your FIFA connections to cash in big on the money in a black market trade that touted 2006 World Cup tickets. The audit also found that your family owned travel company, Simpaul’s, made millions packaging ticket and accommodation deals at hugely inflated prices to local fans and agents around the world. You were found guilty of violating FIFA’s code of ethics for diverting TT-issued World Cup tickets through your family business in 2006 but were given a free pass with your effective resignation as a director of Simpaul’s. There was a general view that FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter had your back and that you had his – at least up until the events of May 2011. Why do you think that is? Is the worldwide view that Blatter covered-up your improprieties in exchange for your loyalty and support correct? Did you cover up his?
8. Your son Daryan, who remained a director of Simpaul’s throughout the 2006 World Cup, was fined US$1 million by FIFA for his role in the ticketing affair. How much of this has been paid, if any at all?
9. Please explain how you came by FIFA’S TV rights for the Caribbean at a low price and then controversially sold them on at huge margins through your Cayman registered company, JD International. You are on record as saying that you first got it for a symbolic US dollar from Havelange. After your public fallout and war of words with your former close ally and FIFA leader Sepp Blatter, you said he dispensed million dollar World Cup TV rights as “a gift to the boys” in FIFA as reward for support in presidential elections which kept him in power. What other gifts did Blatter give to the boys inside FIFA? What gifts did you get?
10. Comment please on reports suggesting that you ran the confederation as though it was your personal fiefdom and used CONCACAF money to settle miscellaneous debts owed to unrelated parties, including three Soca Warrior players, who were each paid a settlement sum of US$30,000. to drop their lawsuit against the TTFF. Also, the payout of US$35,394.45 in CONCACAF money to a charity of choice for the 21 players.
11. Please comment on reports that you also used CFU money on unrelated company business, including payments to Chuck Blazer which is now the subject of an FBI/IRS probe.
12. The CAS report identified a secret CFU bank account in which Mohammed Bin Hammam testified he wire transferred US$360,000. to you. CFU officials say they had no knowledge of this bank account. Can you explain this?
13. Much has been said about your role in facilitating the May 2011 cash –for-vote affair. Two investigatory hearings, FIFA Ethics Committee and CAS, found “credible evidence” that directly connects you to the cash. In fact, the undisputed evidence places the cash in your government office on the afternoon of May 10. Can you please tell me about the circumstances leading to the presence of a suitcase full of cash in your old Minister of Works office on London Street in Port of Spain? Comment also on the view that your conduct in this matter was an abuse of the public’s trust.
14. You have vehemently denied all accusations of wrongdoing connected to offers of cash inducements made to CFU delegates at the Hyatt Hotel, POS. Why then did you resign days after you received an advance copy of the Ethics Committee findings instead of staying in FIFA and fighting to clear your name?
15. Mr Bin Hammam said he gave you US$410,000. to take care of hotel and travel arrangements for CFU delegates attending the May 2011 conference you set up in POS. Is this so? What was the total cost of airfare and hotel charges?
16. You have consistently maintained that you are the target of a smear campaign by political, football and other interests. Where is the evidence to support this?
17. The Jack Warner loyalists say that Sepp Blatter is behind a lot of your troubles. Do you believe this or have any proof that Blatter may be pulling a couple of strings behind the scenes to make things tough for you?
18. From all accounts, you and Chuck Blazer have had a long and close relationship. Why do you think he turned on you?
19. Please tell me why after almost seven years the Soca Warriors are still to be paid their agreed-to-benefits? Why have you not provided full accounts as requested by TTFF executives Oliver Camps and Richard Groden? Both men say you had exclusive control of the LOC bank account and you alone know where tens of millions of dollars in State, private sector and FIFA sponsorship money have disappeared. Why were millions of dollars from the official bank accounts of the national football association diverted to an account created and managed by you (LOC Germany)? Why was TTFF money directed to bank accounts in the names of private companies owned by you? Based on the TTFF audited Accounts, it appears that none of these funds have been accounted for by TTFF. Is that correct?
20. Michael Townley, the British lawyer for the 13 players of the 2006 WC team has described the financial information provided by you and accountant Kenny Rampersad as “works of fiction.” He says you and Messrs Camps and Groden have played a game with the Courts and have engaged in a “deliberate, dishonest attempt” to mislead and conceal tens of millions of dollars to deny the players what is contractually owed to them. What is your response to this?
21. Where did the missing sponsorship money go? TTFF’s top officials, Groden and Camps say they don’t know. They say the answer lies with you. Bank account statements I have seen for TTFF and LOC Germany do not reflect millions of dollars in grants and other sponsorship money, including some of GOTT’s contribution, Atlantic LNG’s $3 million and the FIFA 2006 WC grant. Can you shed some light on this?
22. From correspondence I have seen, FIFA’s Zurich Office was firm that it was not going to wire funds to any bank account other than an official TTFF bank account. The official accounts do not reflect the 2006 FIFA WC payment of CHF6 million less withholding tax or TT$27.7 million. Can you say where that money went? Is there another TTFF bank account that is not in the company’s books?
23. Did you use any money generated from this country’s participation in Germany WC 2006 to fund the UNC’s (United National Congress) 2007 election campaign?
24. The financial battle between the players, TTFF and yourself has been both long and brutal. The public record show your side engaged in quite a bit of arm-twisting and name calling. The TTFF, in October 2006, blacklisted the national players after they threatened to take legal action and barred them from representing their country in the Gold Cup and other football events – effectively destroying the career of some of these outstanding men. You called them: “over-aged, greedy mercenaries.” Is that any way to treat national heroes who created history and brought glory to Trinidad and Tobago as the smallest nation ever to qualify for a FIFA World Cup?
25. Comment on Camps and Groden’s evidence that you played a controlling role in the affairs and finances of the national association.
26. I have noted that Kenny Rampersad was the incorporator-on-record and a corporate officer for several of your private companies. It is my understanding that you appointed and or recommended him for several accounting briefs in sporting entities in which you were either the top official or had effective control. Does he have an independent relationship with you?
27. Was Rampersad the personal accountant who forgot to include your Teachers’ Credit Union account of $611,126.23 in your Integrity Commission filing? Is he still your accountant?
28. He has produced several sets of accounts for TTFF with varying dollar figures adding to the general confusion of exactly what the 2006 World Cup Income was. You and the TTTFF have used these accounts to deny the players their contractual entitlement. Groden, in a statement to FIFA, has said you had possession of all of the accounting records and documents for the TTFF. Did you have an input in the making of these accounts?
29. I understand Mr Rampersad was both accountant and auditor for the CFU of which you were President for more than two decades. Is this not a huge conflict of interest? As the then CFU president, why did you permit this?
30. If you are to be believed, you are an exceptionally lucky man Mr Warner. According to you, TT$60 million provided in cash and cheque payments to you by contractor Krishna Lalla was a gift. Mr Lalla says it was a loan you failed to pay back. Which is it? And if it was a gift, did you declare it to the BIR?
31. What did you do with this 60 million dollar gift?
32. Was it used in the 2007 election campaign? If yes, can you say how much?
33. Mr Lalla has filed a court action seeking to recover the cheque payments he made to you. Where does this money dispute currently stand?
34. What happened to the aid money donated in 2010 to earthquake devastated Haiti? We are told that the South Korean FA paid US$500,000. into a TTFF bank account controlled by you. Is that the LOC account? FIFA also provided a US$250,000. donation that never reached the Haitian people desperately in need of food and medicine, among other things. Haitian football official Yves Jean-Bart is on public record as saying he received only US$60,000. Where did the rest of the aid money you collected go?
35. The circumstances surrounding the award of $7.2 billion worth of highway infrastructure work have been cloaked in secrecy and reports that the contract awarded to Brazilian firm Construtura OAS is not unrelated to your football connections in South America. Please explain why there was no transparent and competitive bid process for this country’s most expensive infrastructure works. On what basis did you give the contract to OAS?
36. Comment on reports that the IDB give the project the thumbs down, withdrew its offer to fund the highway and noted that the cost per-kilometer of roadway was the most expensive in the world.
37. You have said that you have no intention of demitting public office over the latest controversy engulfing you but has refused comment on the Reuters report naming your son Daryan as “a cooperating” witness in a FIFA corruption probe connected to you and CFU payments made over two decades to former pal Chuck Blazer. Minister Warner, as a high ranking government official and an elected Member of Parliament, don’t you think you have a duty to this country to explain exactly what is going on.
38. As a very influential member of an administration supposedly committed to transparency and accountability, do you think it is sufficient and or appropriate to tell the citizenry of this country that “This too shall pass.”
39. Are you Sir, a person of interest to the FBI and or IRS?
40. And finally, as the substantive Minister of National Security engulfed in so many corruption controversies, do you think sir you have compromised this country’s intelligence gathering capability as it relates to the sharing of information with the United States, the U.K. and Canada, among other countries? Do you think there are trust issues behind the United States refusal to respond to a formal government request for information related to you and son Daryan?