Educator paid TT$34M by LifeSport for no work

(Trinidad Express) He was paid TT$34 million from LifeSport but did no work.

But Adolphus Daniell, the owner of Daniell’s Educational Institute, has no intention of returning the money he was paid from the programme.

“The thing about it is, it is a non-issue because the only way under a contract anything is recoverable is if the other party is in default. There was never a single letter of complaint that I was in default of this contract. Not even a phone call,” he said.

Daniell, through his company EBeam Interact Ltd, was solely selec­­­ted to provide mathematics, English and technology lessons to the participants of LifeSport in 2012.

LifeSport was started in August 2012.

Daniell’s contact to provide les­sons for the programme was from Decem­ber 6, 2012, with a projected com­pletion date of September 30, 2014.

“Central Audit was informed that EBeam was sole selected mainly because of the company’s president/CEO Mr Adolphus Daniell’s track record as an educator, with respect to individuals who have struggled aca­demically,” the audit into the Life­Sport programme revealed.

The audit was tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and has been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the acting Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission and the head of the Public Service.

The audit uncovered the pro­gramme was riddled with financial irregularities, had co-ordinators with criminal backgrounds, massive fraud, millions misspent, ghost centres, ghost participants, improper procurement and theft.

Daniell’s TT$34 million payment was the single biggest payment of the programme for no work.

EBeam was paid two tranches of TT$17 million. The first tranche rep­resented 50 per cent of the fee on September 2, 2013. The second pay­ment was done on February 11, 2014

“Ms Dawn Mohan, current cor­porate secretary of SporTT, however stated that since the numeracy and literacy component (N&LC) had not started by EBeam, for which it was contracted, legal advice on whether to pay EBeam the second payment as per the terms of the contract was sought. Two pieces of legal advice were received, one from Ms Lisa Solomon, the then head of Legal of SporTT, and the other from JD Sellier & Company. The opinion from JD Selli­er suggested that measures, including arbitration, be explored to avoid having to make the payments,” the audit noted.

But Daniell yesterday explained it was he who found the auditors (the Central Audit Committee) and pre­sented himself to be interviewed for the audit.

Daniell, who said he had worked at LifeSport for free for several months, said he went to the Central Audit Committee because he felt a major player in the LifeSport corrup­tion scandal was steering the story in a different way.

“Had I not gone there and really put a brake on the story, the story would have been completely different because I was being set up, sadly, to take the fall,” he told the Sunday Express in a telephone interview.

Asked to elaborate, he responded: “Anyone with a modicum of common sense would know that the crook always points in the other direction,” he said.

He said the conflicting stories put out on his contract about money being divided up, his being on the run and being kept safe by a criminal underworld forced him to go to the Central Audit Committee to share his documents.

“When you look at the story, it wasn’t that a contract was forged in the middle of the night, OK?”

He said officials of the SporTT company would have “considered all the angles of the legal advice”.

Questioned on why he did not fulfil his part of the contract, Daniell explained the ministry did not pro­vide the necessary infrastructure, which was part of its contract for him to execute his services.

“I lay out a particular type of approach. It does not make sense to do a chalk and talk, a whiteboard scenario. I mapped out all the things.

But it is necessary that these are the things which need to be done and I sent the document, first and foremost, on what are the conditions which must exist and if those conditions don’t exist, I don’t want to be part of any­thing at the time,” he said.

When the Sunday Express pointed out he still accepted payment, he ex­plained he was not the party in default in the contract.

He said at no time did the SporTT company send a letter of complaint ques­tioning why the work was not implemented.

Instead, he has a bundle of docu­ments which he sent to them reques­ting they fix the centres to begin the classes.

“I was the individual who saved the LifeSport programme from being closed down in 2013. It had nothing to do with my contract,” he said, explaining he was the one who got the ministry’s team to get the commu­nity centres.

He said he would choose the appro­priate time to release more information on his LifeSport contract.

“I want nothing materially. There is nothing they can do for me that I want. I can walk into the major uni­versities and be welcomed. For the people of this country, and a country that is in decay, you cannot allow people to tarnish perception of an indi­vidual who has served, continues to serve and who people look up to. One has a responsibility to address that and that is the only reason I am addressing it,” he said.

But he warned: “Anytime I come out, it’s timing. If I wait until two months before the election, it’s timing.

I have a lot of time. It will shake this place like an earthquake, OK?”

Central Audit was informed SporTT is currently awaiting legal advice from Senior State Counsel Russell Martineau on a way forward or what actions,if any, can be taken against EBeam.

“It is obvious that SporTT was a party to this contract, mainly because the contract was above the authorised limit of the permanent secretary, MoS (Ministry of Sport). It is evident that the ‘mind and management’ of this contract has always been and continues to be the Ministry of Sport…” the audit stated.

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