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Saturday, March 22, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Fifa has finally acknowledged new corruption
allegations relating to the 2022 World Cup ballot
disclosed by the Telegraph this week, the Lon-
don-based paper reported yesterday.
The world football ruling body tried to deflect
further questions on the issue, however.
Telegraph reporter Ben Bryant wrote that after
Fifa had failed to comment for three days, a state-
ment by the head of its ethics committee Michael
Garcia was read out at a press conference in Zurich.
It said: "The ethics committee is aware of the
material identified in the article.
"As with all allegations of misconduct by football
officials the ethics committee will take whatever
action it deems is appropriate.
"More than that at this stage we cannot say and
so there is no need to ask again."
On Tuesday, the paper reported that Jack Warner,
the former vice-president of Fifa, appears to have
been personally paid US $1.2 million from a com-
pany controlled by former Qatari football official
and executive committee member Mohamed Bin
Hammam, just five days after the decision to award
Qatar the 2022 tournament.
The Telegraph said that in a "knockabout" press
conference yesterday, Fifa head Sepp Blatter was
asked four times about the paper s revelations,
but each time refused to comment.
He said, "I m happy that now we have an inde-
pendent committee for ethics. This is a matter now
to be dealt with this committee.
"You have listened to a statement that the chair
of the committee has made. And I m not going to
make any comments on that."
Garcia was said to have been in Zurich to interview
Fifa executive committee members who voted in
the 2010 ballot that awarded Russia and Qatar the
2018 and 2022 World Cups.
After the Telegraph s investigative report was
published, British Prime Minister David Cameron
labelled the World Cup outcome as "sorted before
we went into it" and the former chairman of Eng-
land s World Cup bid, Lord Triesman, called Fifa
On Wednesday, UK MPs called for an inquiry
into Qatar s World Cup ballot victory. Others said
the bid should be rerun.
A Telegraph team had flown to Port-of-Spain
to seek comment from Warner, but with little suc-
cess. Warner, who was a government minister in
2010, was reported to have commented on the
Telegraph s revelations on Wednesday: "I have no
interest in joining in the foolishness that is now
passing as news on Qatar and Jack Warner.
"Nor do I intend to join those who are on a witch
hunt against the World Cup 2022 venue. And do
consider this as my final comment on this matter."
The Telegraph said Bin Hammam also declined
to comment, but a spokesman for Qatar s 2022
World Cup organising committee told the paper
the 2022 bid committee strictly adhered to Fifa s
bidding regulations in compliance with their code
URVASHI TIWARI ROOPNARINE
Turmoil surrounding the
leadership style of Eastern
Regional Health Authority
(ERHA) CEO Ameena Ali has
led to the resignation of six
senior managers in the last
month, while another three are
now seeking compensation
packages to end their contracts
early, Guardian Media Ltd has
The legal proceedings against
the ERHA could see the author-
ity having to pay out $3 million
to bring an early end to the
tenures of three senior managers,
among them ERHA general
manager of human resources
Tricia Leela, legal documents
obtained by GML indicate.
Attorney Vanessa Gopaul,
who represents Leela, has sent
a letter to ERHA chairman Dr
Stephen Bhagan seeking over $1
million in exchange for her
client s premature termination
of her tenure. GML obtained a
copy of the letter.
But RHA sources say Leela is
not the only manager seeking
what many at the authority are
now calling "constructive dis-
missal" packages. Manager of
legal and corporate affairs
Gabrielle Gellineau and the
manager of cost and manage-
ment accounting are also
requesting similar compensation
for their early departure.
Sources at the authority, who
preferred to remain anonymous
for fear of victimisation, said
over the past month, six man-
agers left due to issues with Ali s
management style. Three of
them resigned, two county med-
ical officers of health transferred
and one chose not to renew his
GML understands that all of
the legal letters matters dealing
with the departure of the former
employees raised "a deterioration
in relations" with Ali as the "rea-
son for job dissatisfaction."
One employee said, "This
woman does not know how to
speak or treat us...it is as if we
are prisoners...speaking to an
animal is much better than the
way she speaks to us."
In December 2013, reports
surfaced that the ERHA board,
advised by Senior Counsel
Seenath Jairam, had taken a
decision to fire Ali as CEO. At
the time, issues of her strained
relationship with employees
were also raised.
However, Health Minister
Fuad Khan stepped in and is
reported to have reprimanded
directors of the board for not
following due process, and Ali
Ali was appointed on Novem-
ber 1, 2013, and sources said she
is on a customary six-month
probationary period which ends
on April 1.
Contacted yesterday, however,
Khan said Ali was being targeted
because she was following rules
and procedures. This, he said,
did not do down well with the
managers and directors.
Khan said the results were
there, and directed GML to
acquire the audited HR report
which Ali had ordered. He also
dismissed the claims made by
the departing managers, saying
it was all in reaction to the find-
ings of the audit.
Khan said Cabinet had also
taken a decision to revoke the
appointments of several ERHA
"The revocation letters have
not yet been drafted, but the
decision was taken," he said.
Fuad backs Ameena Ali
Exodus from ERHA over CEO's style but...
Fifa looking at
In a separate letter
highlighting her reasons for
seeking an early departure
from the authority, Gabrielle
Gellineau, an attorney, wrote
on her own behalf as GM of
legal and corporate affairs. The
letter said the CEO told her she
should "advise" that one
Rennick Spencer should be
fired. But after investigations,
Gellineau said she found there
were no grounds for dismissal.
Gellineau also catalogued a
breakdown in relations with Ali
over discussions about another
employee. The letter reads: "Ms
Ali told me if she was CEO
when that decision was made
and I gave her that advice, she
would have fired me. Ms Ali
repeated that statement
approximately three times. Ms
Ali then told me that I felt I
was on holiday..."
In a separate legal letter
from firm KR Lalla and
Company, the lawyers took the
RHA to task after a board
paper, BOD/2014/031, said the
manager of cost and
accounting, Sushma Brahma
Persad, had verified funding for
a project at the Sangre Grande
But KR Lalla and Co wrote
that their client, Ms Persad,
"categorically denies doing so."
The letter reads: "Your
actions mentioned above are
not only dishonest and
unethical but attempts and is
designed to implicate our client
in a fraudulent
misrepresentation to the
Insiders also raised concerns
over Ali's qualifications for the
post of CEO. An advertisement
on the vacancy list for the post
shows a postgraduate degree
as a minimum requirement. But
questions have been raised as
to whether Ali possesses such
Contacted by phone
yesterday, Ali refused to
confirm whether she has
"I am sure you can
understand that I cannot
comment without approval of
the board," she said.
Pressed further on her
qualifications for the sake of
accuracy, she said, "You can do
whatever you want."
But Khan vouched for Ali,
saying she obtained the PG
equivalent, a legal education
certificate from the Hugh
Wooding Law School.
However, online checks of the
law school's list of graduates
from the years 1975 to 2013 did
not find the name Ameena Ali
appearing. The law school also
told GML it does not offer
postgraduate degrees. The LEC
offered is a diploma and allows
those who have attained a law
degree to practise.
Manager ISIT: resigned
Manager OSH: resigned
General manager hospital
accounting: contract not
2 county medical officers of
Eastern Regional Health
Authority CEO Ameena Ali
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