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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?