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Jan 17, 2020

National Sports Council Contacts F.I.U. on Fraud at Council

In respect of the damning audit of the National Sports Council, in a memorandum dated February twenty-eighth, 2019, Director Ian Jones reacted with an eighty-five pages memorandum. The majority of pages are full of procedural information, job descriptions, and the entire handbook. As we have been reporting, the Auditor General’s team found massive fraud and corruption with the Sports Council and questionable and suspicious financial transactions for the period April 2015 to March 2016. The audit report details specific instances where cheques were cashed and monies handed to the former Director Patrick Henry. Henry’s name appears several times as having received tens of thousands of dollars in cash and making several requests from the Ministry of Sports for projects costing tens of thousands of dollars. These projects were never carried out but the monies were spent. In fact, in some cases, the banks used the deposits to cover unauthorized bank overdrafts. There is the case of Herman Longsworth. He is currently the Consul General for Belize in New York. He was the Area Representative for Albert and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Sports. According to the audit report, he set-up Go Enterprises Limited and managed to push the company to receive monies, without contracts, for works at Marion Jones Sporting Complex. Some of the monies were deposited in his personal account and the account of the U.D.P. Albert Division account.  Imer Hernandez, the U.D.P.’s favorite contractor received more than a hundred thousand dollars for works at Marion Jones. Again, no contract was entered. Then there is the embezzlement case for almost half a million dollars by, according to the report, Ivan Ayuso- a senior accounts clerk. These are only some of the apparent fraud cases. The Council’s memo doesn’t respond to any specific allegation and current Director Jones says he did not discover any instances of fraud. But he says that he did discover, “loopholes within the payroll system and other accounting practices that could allow for fraud to occur.” He goes on to say that the Council will deliver on its mandate having being “robbed as a result of mismanagement of the NSC, the Sports fund and obvious fraudulent activities discovered.” Jones has written to the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit to seek reprimand of those who are allegedly responsible for the misappropriation of public funds through fraudulent activities at the National Sports Council. Checks and balances have been put in place to prevent further fraud and corruption.

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