PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Outspoken Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Sport Anil Roberts and two senior officials in his ministry are under investigation by the country’s integrity commission.
The local daily Trinidad Guardian reported Sunday that Roberts, permanent secretary Ashwin Creed and the Trinidad & Tobago Boxing Board of Control special adviser Boxu Potts are under investigation relating to allegations of conflict of interest, a breach of proper procedures and hiring practices at the ministry.
The investigation stems from a complaint filed by former T&TBBC board member Ricardo Phillip following allegations of misbehaviour in public office. “You know it is not our business to say what we have started to do or not,” said Commission chairman Ken Gordon.
The newspaper indicated that Roberts is the first Cabinet minister to be under investigation by the commission since the People’s Partnership government of Kamla Persad-Bissessar assumed office more than 18 months ago.
The investigation commenced on February 2, and Phillip said he was questioned by two of the commissioners in relation to the complaint. “All I would say at this point is that I was questioned in relation to Potts’ contract, funding for professional boxing cards and the hiring of people at the T&TBBC,” he said.
“I was also asked if I was given reasons, or told what were the grounds for my dismissal from the board and I was unable to say because I was never told.”
“This is all I am prepared to say at this point because the matter is now the subject of an ongoing investigation.”
Phillip was sacked from the T&TBBC days after he refused to support the granting of just over US$300,000 boxing card to Unified Promoter’s Boxing Association which is owned by Giovanni Potts, Boxu’s son.
The $1.9-million grant was expected to fund a Boxing Day card scheduled for Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain.
Attempts by the newspaper to reach Roberts and Potts were unsuccessful, but Creed said he had not been informed of any investigation.
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