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Sancho collected Central FC qualifying money while Sport Minister

Sport Minister Brent Sancho could feasibly find himself reported to the Integrity Commission after leaked documentation showed that CONCACAF money due to the Pro League club was diverted into the minister’s personal bank account.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

Then Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison admitted that he directed CONCACAF to wire US$40,000 (TT$253,000) to a United States-based bank account owned by Sancho. Harrison, who is British, also serves as advisor to the Sport Minister and is paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Government.

The CONCACAF payment was supposed to help the “Couva Sharks” with expenses for their trip to Los Angeles where they faced MLS team, LA Galaxy, in the Champions League.

Sancho was appointed as Sport Minister on 2 February 2015 and has repeatedly insisted that he is not involved in Central business due to the obvious conflict of interest.

The Sport Minister declined comment on the payment to his account. However, Harrison tried to clear it up.

Why was CONCACAF directed to send money to Sancho in July, five months after his appointment as Sport Minister?

Harrison suggested that the CONCACAF paperwork happened while Sancho was still Central CEO.

Photo: Leaked paperwork shows that CONCACAF made a payment to Sport Minister Brent Sancho.
Photo: Leaked paperwork shows that CONCACAF made a payment to Sport Minister Brent Sancho.

“The only reason I think CONCACAF would have even a record of Brent Sancho,” Harrison told Wired868, “is because we had to apply (for the CONCACAF Champions League) early.”

Wired868 can confirm that Central had not even qualified for the Champions League when Sancho was appointed Sport Minister.

Central only booked its spot in the Champions League on 22 May 2015 after a penalty shoot out win over Haitian club, Don Bosco. And CONCACAF asked qualified teams to send bank details on 28 May 2015.

Why did Harrison not forward the club’s bank details rather than Sancho’s?

“Central didn’t have a US bank account at the time,” said Harrison. “When we filled out all the application forms, the only US account we had access to was Brent’s own. So we put that down for ease of use.”

There is no stipulation that the club needed a US bank account.

Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

More relevantly, Harrison did not explain why Central did not simply open a US account, since CONCACAF gave the Sharks between May 28 and June 12, roughly two weeks, to provide the necessary bank details.

Interestingly, Sancho did not immediately forward the US$40,000 to Central when he received it. Instead, as the Sharks prepared to face Galaxy, other club officials received word that they were due money for their trip to the United States.

Harrison admitted that there was a time lag before Sancho relayed the money to the relevant club officials. In the interim, Central struggled to get visas and tickets in time and the players travelled to Los Angeles in three batches.

They were subsequently thrashed 5-1 by Galaxy.

“We got an enquiry from Central FC (who asked) did you receive money,” said Harrison, “and lo and behold the money was there (in Sancho’s account). I personally got the cheque from Sancho and gave it to someone at the club.

“It was for (around) US$39,000 because there were some charges…

“As far as I am aware, Central FC then opened an account afterwards and directed CONCACAF money to be sent there.

“I have not been involved with Central FC since. They keep me out of the loop.”

Photo: SWO member and Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (right) presents a $12,000 cheque to Dion Sosa, the local manager for then ailing player Akeem Adams. Adams died on 30 December 2013 after failing to recover from a heart attack. (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/Wired868)
Photo: SWO member and Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (right) presents a $12,000 cheque to Dion Sosa, the local manager for then ailing player Akeem Adams.
Adams died on 30 December 2013 after failing to recover from a heart attack.
(Courtesy Allan V. Crane/Wired868)

Central FC, the reigning Pro League and Caribbean club champion team, is owned and largely funded by SIS directors and, contrary to common belief, Sancho is not a part-owner.

The relevant SIS officials are rumoured to be now keen to relinquish their role with Central and sell the club to any interested buyer. However, Wired868 could not confirm this potential change in direction and Harrison said he was unaware of any such moves.

AboutLasana 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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322 comments

  1. well he deliberately chose to bank it in foreign in his personal bank account at a time when he should have severed all ties with the Club. think its clear he had absolutely no business accepting that money

  2. Lasana I expect to be flooded with misinformation. They’re trying to deflect legitimate questions about how they do business. They’re rotten to the core.

  3. What a tangled web they weave with all the spin doctors. Bottom line is Sancho seems to have picked up the dirty tricks of his predecessors and money corrupting him.

  4. So partap got fired for using a siren and not declaring DUI. So what will the Prime minister do to Santos for taking moneys that is not his. And both Harris and Santos look like their hand ✋ in the cookie jar

  5. Why are people trying to defend crap?? I do not understand. Sanko banko the money and got caught.

  6. Kevin Jeffrey, I only just saw your message:
    “Fact central FC qualified for this present champions league ad runners up to w connection… Which the club is currently involved..
    Central FC qualified for next year champions league this pass season may 31st… So this means papers would have been filed before brent became a minister…
    This is fact”

    Central FC did not qualify for the Champions League by finishing as runners-up to W Connection. What Central FC qualified for then was the Caribbean Club Championship tournament, which is a qualifier for the Champions League.
    The Caribbean Club Championship is run by the CFU and not CONCACAF directly. Central FC only qualified for the CONCACAF tournament in late May 2015.
    I’m suspicious at people throwing in all sorts of irrelevant information to confuse people who do not follow football.
    Fact: CONCACAF wanted bank details between May 28 and June 12, 2015, while Sancho was a Minister.
    Do you dispute that?

  7. i dont know how other persons will look at this but after reading all the doucuments i came up with one verdict and that is that brent sancho is a thief and harrison knows all about the plan like the govt they thought they will not get caught

  8. Birds of a feather flock together and so do pigs and swine….

  9. Oh what a tangled web we weave…! If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. However as this case clearly shows it could also be a flying pig! I wouldn’t say that Sancho is corrupt simply because he has joined the most corrupt administration to date, in this country’s history and because the explanations forwarded simply don’t make sense. I’ll leave others to make up their own minds about this!

  10. Harrison in his interview with me just two or three days ago said that the club was owned by SIS directors.
    Sancho is being stupid if he thinks that he can hide such matters.
    Is it even worth getting proof that he doesn’t own it? It is just so silly.

  11. This thing gets more confusing as each day passes. Sancho on a radio interview kept referring to himself as owner of Central FC, he kept saying “I am the owner” not I was, so what is really the case here. Then the line “…. his new job specs were provided by Central chairman and SIS director Daren Mohamdally and were meant to give him and former club chaitman , Brent Sancho, more time to prepare for the September 7 general elections…” Why would the new chairman of Central FC and SIS director have an input into their preparation for the GE? Makes no sense and this basket of half-truths and innuendos they’re trying to weave is getting more tangled by the second.

  12. (This was an excerpt on 4 August 2015)
    “Former operations director Kevin Harrison had his duties cut and now works as “advisor to the board” while media officer Amiel Mutilal was not kept on.

    Harrison said his new job specs were provided by Central chairman and SIS director Daren Mohamdally and were meant to give him and former club chairman, Brent Sancho, more time to prepare for the September 7 general elections…

    “I am disappointed not to be more involved in the day to day (affairs) at Central FC,” Harrison told Wired868. “I feel there is a lot more that I could be doing to assist the club… (But) decisions were made after Brent’s appointment and my own at the Ministry of Sport that people were needed there 24/7.”

    http://wired868.com/2015/08/04/central-off-to-face-galaxy-minus-oliver-ettienne-and-joseph/

  13. The release wasn’t sent to me William Ross. Note the fact that they brushed over that May 28 to June 12 deadline. And they contradicted Harrison’s own statement that it was Central FC officials that went searching for the money.

  14. I don’t understand why this is such a big deal or any kind of surprise. Did you all think that Sancho was a brilliant paragon of virtue? And still nothing will come of this as I indicated previously.

  15. thanks Savitri Maharaj, ‘mix up/and or misunderstanding’, take your pick. Like I keep on saying we have politicians that take us for idiots and sadly many of us continue to prove them right. At the end of the day it’s small change but I’m sure this is only the tip of the iceberg.

  16. you see… Kams had a plan… a plan to hand pick people and place them in particular positions… a plan for these people to pilfer from the public purse… a plan for people to perpetrate fraud…. a plan for other people to protect the pilferers and perpetrators…. a plan to pretend to be oblivious perpetration…..a plan to pull wool over our eyes. well… we’re putting her on notice – she and her puppets and puppet masters will be pursued and punished.. then pickled in prisons. she should forget the plant-like substance and put THAT in her pipe and smoke it.

  17. Lasana would it be possible for you to share the SIS/Central FC media statement on the matter?

  18. Ample time was there for a professional organization to make arrangements. Never heard of a US$1000 bank fee either.. but oh well..

  19. You would find all kinds of conflicting releases being issued confusing the situation until it becomes so complicated that no one wants to even bother deciphering it anymore.

    The most we can hope for is the incoming administration would empower our state investigative institutions giving them the necessary resources and independence to fully investigate and prosecute all these reports of Persad-Bissessar administration corruption we’ve seen over the last five years.

    #ThereMustBeJail

  20. Thanks eh Ian Brooks!!! This thing people believe that Sanko being scampish is new and is as a result of his association with Tanty and d bunch

  21. Talk to Terry Fenwick and info will emerge on the Sancho scamp.

  22. I see SIS/Central FC put out a media release now that even contradicts what Kevin Harrison and Brent Sancho have said.
    And, of course, there was barely a mention of the May 28 to June 12 deadline.

  23. The agencies charged with investigation of these types of improprieties are in a comatose state, due to thier ineffectiveness such actions continue with flagrant disrespect for due process of accountability. In other jurisdictions worldwide persons would have been called to account oreither jailed, dead or turn whistle blower.

  24. Note again that there is no mention of the deadline to submit bank details which is between May 28 and June 12. That was when Sancho’s bank details were forwarded.

  25. SIS supports UNC candidate should be the headline here I guess. Because this statement contradicts not only what Kevin Harrison told me but also what Brent Sancho has been saying in interviews.
    So their story has been evolving all the time.

  26. It seems as if banks taking money from Ministers which are not their salary cheques and asking no ?s is the norm..Very trustworthy bankers who work within the ambit of the law…The corrupt practice starts with the acceptance of the deposit without query……Right or Wrong? ?????

  27. Next issue is for FIB to call him in and investigate.This is a matter for The PM,FIB,Police and IC.Another grave issue is Source of Funds and how the $reached there as a deposit and the relevant bank not asking a ?.Very interesting that the bank accepted the deposit and how did he record same!!!!

  28. And Lasana pointed out “3) CONCACAF gave Central FC between 28 May and 12 June 2015 to send bank details.”

    So you see it matters not when Central FC qualified for the Champions League, all that matters is when Central FC’s bank details were requested and when Banko became Sports Minister.

  29. Kevin,matters not.He had a duty to return the money with a covering letter and ought to have arranged his affairs on ministerial appointment. He has to face the Integrity Commission and possible charges as Panday did for receipt of the $.

    • Scotty Ranking

      A significant point that people seem to be conveniently avoiding. Sancho should not have cut any cheque to Central FC at all. He should have remitted the funds to the sender, CONCACAF, and have them pay Central FC directly. Had he done it in this manner,the ‘mistake’ would have appeared to have been handled above board. Instead, Central FC never received their full sum (it came US $1000 short due to some very dubiously attributed bank fees) and receipt of the sum was only acknowledged AFTER Central FC came asking about it. Had they not done so, it begs the question if Sancho would have mentioned the money of his own volition.
      Also, what of the interest gained between the deposit date of the payment and when Sancho finally issued his cheque to Central FC? For US$ 40000, that interest could be quite substantial AND should have offset any real administrative fees incurred.

  30. You. People here who are criticizing Brent are so funny you all need to educate yourself issue how much of you all heard his respond

  31. Fact central FC qualified for this present champions league ad runners up to w connection… Which the club is currently involved..
    Central FC qualified for next year champions league this pass season may 31st… So this means papers would have been filed before brent became a minister…
    This is fact

    • Weren’t you the same idiot who was bad taking central fc for not paying the bus driver and what a mess they were behind the scenes. We all know you need to keep your job there but have a backbone and not be a hypocrite. The email can resurface here if you liked.