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TTFA insists Millien quit; Hadeed promises tell-all in Parliament

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has denied its marketing official, Darren Millien, was fired by the local football body or that his departure was a sign of guilt over a $.4 million licensing fee con unearthed by Wired868 last week.

Millien was accused of requesting $400,000 in cash from travel agent, Nissi Tours, which was supposed to be a payment to the TTFA but promptly disappeared.

Photo: One 2 One Marketing director Darren Millien runs the TTFA's FIFA-funded income generation programme.
Photo: One 2 One Marketing director Darren Millien runs the TTFA’s FIFA-funded income generation programme.

Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed claimed that he reported the alleged crime to TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee before the “Soca Warriors” international friendly in Buenos Aires on June 4.

However, by Tim Kee’s own admission, the cash-strapped football body waited between three to four months to report the missing money to the police. And, even then, the complaint to the Fraud Squad was supposedly filed by TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips with help from Millien.

Phillips hired Millien and advised the tour agents that the former West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and Sportt Company executive member was his “go to guy.”

Within five days of Wired868’s exclusive report on the controversial payment, the TTFA announced Millien’s departure by press release while Phillips had his duties slashed as national senior team manager William Wallace took on the responsibility to liaise with the government and the various national teams over budgets.

But the TTFA insisted, via another press release today, that Millien’s departure, which was said to be only “until the issues surrounding the Argentina tour have been resolved”, was voluntary.

“Mr Millien met with me on Friday November 28,” said Tim Kee, in the latest press statement, “when we had a frank and open discussion, during which he voluntarily offered to withdraw his services until the matter has been satisfactorily resolved.”

The release did not say whether Phillips also offered to give up a large chunk of his portfolio voluntarily. Nor did it explain why Millien’s resignation and the restructuring of Phillips’ post did not happen when the matter was supposedly filed with the police—in August or September—rather than immediately after the Wired868 articles last week. Or why Phillips did not also resign.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Neither Tim Kee nor Phillips could be reached by telephone to give further explanations and the football president, who is also the Port of Spain mayor and PNM treasurer, did not return a voice message.

There is little indication, at present, that this matter will fade away anytime soon.

Hadeed told Wired868 that he has requested a copy of the TTFA’s statement to the Fraud Squad and hopes to have it before the end of the week.

And there is every chance that Millien’s name might rear up again on Friday when the Tourism Minister answers questions on the Argentina excursion in Parliament. Ironically, the Opposition has made queries about the trip although the responses might trouble the PNM’s treasurer, who continues to insist that the controversial marketing official is someone he holds in high regard.

“The PNM has asked some questions in the Parliament which I have to respond to pertaining the trip,” said Hadeed. “Basically that is on Friday in Parliament. If they ask supplementary questions, I will say exactly what went on… When you are a scamp you must not get away.”

Tim Kee is expected to face his own grilling from the TTFA executive committee too in the not-so-distant future.

In Sunday’s press release, the TTFA said that the decisions to: accept Millien’s withdrawal, restructure Phillips’ portfolio, assign new responsibilities to Wallace and include former West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine as a consultant were all “unanimously agreed” by the ExCo members present.

What Tim Kee did not say was that five of the TTFA’s 12 executive members including the two senior vice presidents, Lennox Watson and Rudi Thomas, and SSFL president Anthony Creed and Paula Chester-Cumberbatch did not attend the meeting.

“What is Dinanath’s terms of reference?” asked one executive committee member, who did not attend the weekend gathering—supposedly due to late notice and the fact there was allegedly no agenda. “Is it a paid position? (William) Wallace is a top class fellah; but you cannot just create a position for someone and farm out some of the general secretary’s functions to him…

“If the general secretary is not good, and he seems to lack basic management acumen and is arrogant on top of it, then fire his backside!”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson (centre) screams for joy after scoring against Costa Rica in the 2014 Women's CONCACAF Championship semifinal. At right is defender Rhea Belgrave. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson (centre) screams for joy after scoring against Costa Rica in the 2014 Women’s CONCACAF Championship semifinal.
At right is defender Rhea Belgrave.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The Trinidad and Tobago football community is expected to unite between the “Women Soca Warriors” tomorrow evening when they aim to become the first Caribbean team to qualify for a FIFA tournament. The Warriors face Ecuador from 6 pm in a decisive Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup Play Off clash at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Tickets are in scarce supply and the TTFA advised fans that a limited number will be made available at its Hasely Crawford headquarters from 10 am on match day.

But Millien and the TTFA’s shenanigans, in relation to the State-funded trip to Argentina which has already cost taxpayers $2.1 million exclusive of a $1.2 million Caribbean Airlines bill, should be back on the agenda by Friday afternoon.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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70 comments

  1. What we need is a total clean up of the TTFA. Why is it that generations and generations of certain families are feeding off the TTFA? Why do we need so many technical directors who do nothing but lime in Port of Spain daily and collect huge sums of money at the end of each month; then we cannot pay the players who should be the first on the payroll?
    The Phillips and the Corneals continue to feed handsomely while no money is spent on the development of the sport from the juvenile level?
    What is Sheldon Phillips doing for our football that he commands a salary of $45,000 plus a car monthly?
    So many question but we need a minister of sports who has the fortitude to say to the TTFA, NO AUDIT and NO TOTAL RESTRUCTURE, then NOT A DAMN CENT of funding.
    All we did when Jack and Camps moved out, was replace one band of bandits with another band of bandits.
    Also note the Millien’s firing/resignation is conditional until this matter is resolved. Do not be surprised that he returns, after all he is just the fall guy. I am definitely certain that $400K in cash was well shared among the many within TTFA and now they have made him the sacrificial lamb with a promise to reinstate him by some nefarious means once the smoke clears because Trinis have short memories. I hope Mr. Hadeed keeps beating the iron on this.

  2. I am more interested in what is actually being done to find out where the money went….They can say what they want about voluntary departure….we know how that works…. http://bit.ly/investigate400k

  3. Why tell all n parliament he wud escape conviction

  4. Business people in cohorts with politicians are the biggest thieves in our society .poopd

  5. Go Women Warriors! So happy that Princess business is over

  6. As for the game later , our women are playing more exiting football than our men. I expect a victory by 3 to 1.

  7. Good luck to you all . I have over 10 years of experience dealing with the fraud squad. Most cases take at least 3 years and those are the straight forward ones . Unless the TTFA provides the proper information nothing done externally will have any results . I will however still support the attempt to pressure the TTFA

  8. Exactly! So let’s do our bit. We will not always agree but we agree that things cannot continue this way. So enjoy the game later everyone. I am fired up!

  9. legal ones i know you refer..of course Lasana Liburd…right lol ?

  10. I’m with you on that Cindy Howe. The only way to break the cycle of abuse is to protest loudly and clearly. And protest can take different forms.

  11. Agreed….
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing”.-Edmund Burke

  12. Christophe you have a couple volunteers who agreed to assist you in a follow up programme with the Fraud Squad, yes? I am looking forward to hearing from you guys. Yes, the system has not been at all cooperative in solving or prosecuting this type of crime. But a crime has occurred against all of us and we must try to do our part to get some kind of result. To continue shrugging our shoulders without any effort…that just doesn’t cut it anymore.

  13. Sad but true. Don’t expect any satisfactory conclusions from these investigations. Some of the key investigators have had their pockets lined! Yet, not holding my breath, I am hoping for something positive, please!

  14. Sorry but we will not get any investigation or conclusion in this matter. First the money involved is smaller than the millions taken by others with no investigation . Second if a file was sent to fraud squad we are looking at a minimum of 3 years for the investigation and finally the file was prepared by the same people under investigation .

  15. Nothing less than a full and independent (and that does not mean the Ministry of Tourism, eh) investigation will suffice…and let the cards fall where they may. Some folks here seem to be brakesing for some of the players…none should escape!

  16. This is Taxpayers money all should be Fired

  17. Lasana why are you continuing to respond to Brian? The man on a mission. Can’t you see he has a one track mind which is to try and shove Nissi Tours in your face to detract from the real perpetrators the TTFA and like Adrian said cash payments in brown paper bags have been the modus operandi of this organization for years now. Who is he trying to protect?

  18. When the women’s team left for Ecuador, the TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips turned up the airport with stacks of brown envelopes with just under US$3,000 each and gave one to each player. That was just last month.
    I don’t know that anyone signed anything. Calculate how much money he must have walked with and the risk to those young ladies going to a strange country.
    It is just an example of how the TTFA does its business. But I’m happy for the court to rule on that matter and all I want to know is the police received proper information.
    Otherwise, I want to see the TTFA improve in the way it does its business and some improvement from the Jack Warner era. That is what concerns football fans most.
    That includes distancing itself from corrupt deals. But it does not end there.

  19. Cash payments and receipts could have been a norm . Nissi was probably doing business as usual with the TTFA

  20. The TTFA did most of its business using the brown envelope method of procurement . There is no Treasurer in the TTFA . No accountant .

    • You know Adrian, coming to think of it, that is so true…..lol lol lol. It is no laughing matter but it is laughable that an organization that would need to be spenidng money in the millions has no known accountant working there. Hmmmmmmmm?

  21. Nissi tours stated its case. The TTFA stated theirs. And the ministry of tourism gave its view. All three were published.

  22. You can’t ask Nissi Tours for an explanation?

  23. This story was about missing money. I didn’t say Millien pocketed it.
    I said Nissi said he did. And the Minister believed Nissi’s case.
    And I said the TTFA denied it.
    And I spoke about many other issues regarding the current TTFA including a lack of financial accountability and issues of governance. So I am not having a debate on who has the money at all.

  24. The omission of this explanation is glaring to the point that it cannot be ignored.

  25. My point is not about Nissi Tours but about the reporting of this issue. Nissi Tours also received tax payer dollars, not so? So I don’t get that point. I am putting to you that it would serve your credibility and anyone else seeking change to not just target a handful of individuals but to fairly and dispassionately expose ALL involved in the fraudulent pocketing of taxpayer dollars. That is all I have said. Nothing that has been reported thus far explains why a Nissi Tours employee would feel comfortable making a cash payment in a bag to a man in a car park.

  26. Nissi tours is on a police file. What they do in the meantime and how they react is their business as a private company.
    The TTFA handles millions of taxpayers dollars and the dreams of hundreds of athletes and coaches. It is responsible for representing us to the world.
    Do you understand why, as a sport writer, I might be more interested in the TTFA Brian?
    (I will not even mention the fact that an independent part looked at the statements from both sides already… I will resist so as not to be sucked back there).
    It is a week now. The TTFA has sent out two releases already and made other public statements and changes to its structure since. As football fans, we are discussing those changes too.
    Is there really anything new you have to say about Nissi that wasn’t said already last week?

  27. No one is excluding the TTFA. The question is why only the TTFA when ostensibly they were aided in this racket by Nissi Tours? Why not target ALL involved?

  28. You are arguing something I am not even debating Brian Manning. That is what is confusing me.
    I am talking about the TTFA’s response to the crisis. I’m not saying that it is wrong to point at Nissi.
    I just find it odd that anytime someone mentions the TTFA, someone jumps into the thread to speak about Nissi.
    It is not that no one thinks there is anything to say about them.
    But isn’t there a conversation worth having about the TTFA too?
    Note I have not assigned guilt on any party. I’m saying that based on the evidence, the TTFA’s response should be of a particular standard and i doubt I have seen that.
    You can counter by explaining why you think the TTFA did the right thing.
    What i cannot understand is if your response to the TTFA’s handling is: but what about the car park…

  29. ‘Unprofessional’? Corrupt! All involved should be locked up. What i do not appreciate is having my view being termed political simply because it is my view, as if there is no merit to what I am saying.

  30. Let the POLICE do their job and investigate who, what, why, where, when and how! We could debate the money in a brown bag story from now til infinity but only the characters in this stupid and utterly unnecessary exchange between TTFA and their vendor Nissi Tours can shed any light on why they chose to do business in such an unprofessional manner. So please, stop the quibbling. It makes no sense.

  31. My comment has nothing to do with any political point of view But a call for fair and balanced reporting. It is a logical view that something isn’t right for any business person to pay bills to a supposedly legitimate organization with cash in a bag. A check would not have sufficed? They could not have met at the TTFA’s office? I’m saying that Nissi Tours has to also be part of this racket – they are not blameless. I certainly am in no position to defend anyone in this matter and will not do so.

  32. For the record, Nissi tours never claimed to get a message saying meet me in a car park.
    But i have already gone over this story in depth with quotes from all sides.
    I prefer to move on to where we are at now with the TTFA trying to react to the crisis.
    I understand that the shoe is on the other foot for those with strong loyalties to the PNM.
    So you might as well understand that I don’t care for any particular party. I want people who put the country first.
    And I don’t care what party any 868-er belongs to. Just please try to make sensible contributions and don’t enter discussions with closed minds to push a particular narrative.

  33. Why would any employee of Nissi Tours feel comfortable meeting a man in a car park with a bag full of money? That does not compute.

  34. There are two ways to win a contest. One is to prove yourself better than your opponent. The other is to find some way of disqualifying your opponent.
    Seems like the latter is preferred where the TTFA president and company is concerned.

  35. Don’t have to be sarcastic, especially since you wasn’t there Christophe Brathwaite

  36. You’re relentless Christophe. Don’t quote me selectively. I said Nissi Tours proved its case to the Ministry of Tourism.
    Are you saying they did not? Did you not read that Hadeed said he went over statements from both sides and came to an opinion?
    What part of that do you have an issue with now? Lol.

  37. Nissi Tours already proved its case ..brrrrrrrrrrrrr

  38. Yes! We will make it an international scandal if our human rights of freedom of expression are violated!

  39. Still no real resolution and the inmates still running the asylum.

  40. That i was wondering Trin Bagonian. Feel they will take them from us but if they do every one with a fancy phone make sure you photograph them and plaster them all over FB.

  41. Got it Debbie Espinal, I thought Cindy Howe meant the petition you signed. 🙂

  42. Ohhh….Cindy Howe now I get what you mean….oops! Ok, yeah, let’s hope everyone brings a sign or two…and that our freedom of expression will not be hampered!

  43. What sign you talking about Trin Bagonian. I eh make no sign as yet. De Husband a bit conservative so waiting to see if he’s going or not before chancing it but my boos good fuh sure and we must make them as loud as possible. Spread de word.

  44. Gerald Hadeed, you need to tell-all, we want to hear it!! What you waiting for!

  45. Trin I’m hoping for a physical sign at the game tomorrow!

  46. You mean “Tim Kee Your ASS Next””

  47. Debbie Espinal done sign already Cindy Howe and she shared it too! Glad to hear you going to the game Debbie!

  48. Good going Debbie. Doh forget de sign “Investigate the #missing400K”

  49. Yes!! The jumbie caught me today and i figured with Millien gone and Phillips with one foot out de door and hopefully Tim Kee’s ass will be next i figured i may as well do what i wnted to do all along. Support our warriors. So yes my big mouth will be there so allyuh look at meh photo good and hail meh out in de concrete stand because ah vain and won’t be wearing my glasses. I’ll be easy to find. I’ll be in RED. Lol!

  50. Brent, you are going backwards. Nissi Tours already proved its case to the Ministry of Tourism. It was on this basis that Gerald Hadeed and Juliana Boodram called Darren Millien as straight as the North Coast road.
    It is possible that Nissi Tours will have to prove their case again in court. But it is inaccurate to say that it is Darren Millien’s word against David Atiba Charles. But I don’t want to be going over that every day.
    So I rather just focus on the TTFA’s management, which will determine football’s fate in the short, medium and long term future.

  51. Fellas, fellas we all have one goal here and will inevitably have a difference of opinion on various aspects of this whole piece of backward way the TTFA AND THEIR VENDORS do business. If there is indeed a report in to the Fraud Squad then the investigator may well come to the conclusion that Nissi is also culpable. Hopefully they will cooperate and submit whatever info they have so that this situation is resolved and the public’s money is returned.

  52. Shite! I cyah get away. Was trying to sneak this one past your’ll but i forgot “none shall escape” on Lasana’s page. Lol!

  53. Fair enough but in reality the responsibility falls with Nissi as they would have to prove they gave the money to the TTFA. I am not removing any responsibility from the TTFA but being obejctive the real issue is at Nissa IMHO

  54. This country full of legal minds holding court on morality boy. (whistles) Lol

  55. I’m focused on the management that my national football teams are getting and the way the football budget is put to use Brent Bennett. Anything else after that. 😉

  56. Ill go back and read the other thread Cindy….

  57. Debbie going to BOO! Love it!

  58. You going Debbie I thought you boycotting lol

  59. How you could fire somebody who never wuk fuh yuh. These people are serious jokers oui!! Ah hope allyuh join me in booing he ass tomorrow.

  60. If you willingly participate in corruption them you have to share blame

  61. Lasana Liburd i have one question that has been bothering me in this whole fiasco. What is Nissi Tours’ responsibility in all this nonsense? As i stated yesterday Tim Kee as the leader has to be held accountable but in all fairness, is either David Atiba Charles real naive or dotish. Because in the real world he is the one ultimately responsible because he had possession of the money…. Thoughts?

  62. I’ll believe that when I see it.

  63. well yes! Go Minister Hadeed. This will be interesting.

  64. “When you are a scamp you must not get away.” Hmmm… I’m afraid that usually happens in real countries where the police have high detection and conviction rates. And where the flaws in our judicial system are not easily exploited by the privileged who can frustrate and make it(and us) look like an ass / asses. But alas that is not the case here… Getting away with white collar crime in this country is like facing traffic on your way to work daily…it’s a given! If yuh ain laugh yuh cry yes!!
    Oh and Raymond….one minute Lasana Liburd’s expose is “bordering on libel” (I’m laughing at actually having to write that) and now after it has been put in the public domain(6 months later) “Half ah Millien” is stepping aside or sacked or whatever? What a coincidence!! Clearly you were hoping that it would have blown over and not aired itself in public…it’s obvious you had absolutely no intention of doing anything about the missing money…You and “Shel-DONE “do us a favor na…please..we begging now!!

  65. Scotty Ranking

    Oh, bacchanal! We ready for it! And worse yet in Parliament to boot! I expect a rollicking session this Friday. As I’ve said before, this half-Millien dollar matter *MUST* be pursued to the end! Enough is enough!