Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jack reveals critique of Concacaf's report; three independent jurists report on Simmons committee report

Jack Warner: "I have been a victim of a degree of intrigue and collusion of the highest level."
Jack Warner held a media conference at the Centre of Excellence Tuesday to reveal the findings of three jurists who have critiqued the Concacaf Integrity Report report.

The former National Security Minister resigned from Parliament two days after that report was made public, quit as chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) the day after and then resigned as MP for Chaguanas West.

He told reporters Tuesday that he received the opinion of three eminent legal minds  - Justice Zainool Hosein, Andrew Mitchell Q.C. and Bertram E. Commissiong Q.C. Each presented an individual report.

The former cabinet minister highlighted the key points noted by the legal team, noting that the men identified several things that were wrong with the Simmons report presented to Concacaf in Panama last month.

  • The legal standards applied by the Committee were based on the balance of probabilities and not beyond a reasonable doubt as is expected in cases of a criminal nature yet it went on to make making findings of that same criminal nature
  • The procedure used to gather information was flawed because it authorized Counsel to conduct necessary interviews in person, by telephone and without reference to the committee. Witnesses imparted their information without taking oath and in the absence of the members of the Committee who must now look at that information and make findings
Warner said one lawyer described this as "...a glaring case of condemnation, castigation and persecution without evidence and without due regard for fundamental and sacred pillars of justice, including particularly, the maxim ‘audi alteram partem (translated it should be heard by the other side).’”

He stated other areas of concerned noted by the legal team:

  • A blatant abuse of the legal procedure known as the Salmon Letter which requires the accused to meet the accuser. These thirty-eight witnesses were unidentified and up to now as one lawyer pointed out one does not know what interests they have to protect and what is the quality of information they presented to serve those interests
  • The Integrity Committee fell into error by wrongly purporting to act as a court of law. It did not have the power to summon or subpoena witnesses or punish for contempt and therefore it was improper of the Committee to make an adverse finding against a person who exercise his right in law not to participate
  • The Investigating Committee ought to have been independent. However, they pointed out that “CONCACAF as part of the FIFA fabric has selected, sponsored and has employed the members of the Investigating Committee so it is plain that in the eyes of the party and a reasonable bystander that the independence of the Investigating Committee is compromised
  • There was a deliberate plan to mislead as it relates to financial impropriety. Even though at paragraph 5.198 of the Report it clearly states that: “Warner frequently asked if the Executive Committee members had any questions about the financial statements, the members typically did not ask any such questions” yet the Report continues as though Jack Warner misrepresented financial records to the Executive Committee
  • On the Centyre of Excellence. The lawyers concur that “The Congress which is made up of a delegation from each national member association is charged with the following duties: the approval of loans; the authorization of real estate purchases, sales, and mortgages exceeding $100,000 in value; and the approval of budgets and financial statements as presented by the Executive Committee. The lawyers noted that based on the information presented that the CONCACAF Executive Committee was never under the impression that the Centre of Excellence complex was a CONCACAF asset
Warner said while the Committee made clear pronouncements as to the culpability and his guilt the lawyers found that the evidence and the facts did not support such a conclusion.

"The conclusions appear to be driven by a desire to castigate, malign and punish rather than to present a true and fair representation of the state of affairs and or the circumstances surrounding a number of transactions addressed in the Committee’s report," he said. 

"The Committee did not see it fit to even check the books of the FIFA, audited by KPMG as always, and to see what the FIFA accounts said about the FIFA grant and later gift to Jack Warner."

Warner added that he has been "sanctioned, castigated and maligned; treated as guilty without due process or an investigation into the publication of documents to determine its veracity or validity."

He added, "I have been a victim of a degree of intrigue and collusion of the highest level perpetrated by some who believed that, exactly after three years to the date of the Fyzabad Accord, Jack Warner is expendable." He said he would have more to say about that "another time".

He cautioned the media to be careful of "how you condemn the present Government after Rowley’s so-called expose". He added, "Our Constitution does not place the burden of proof on the accused so let us in defence of our Constitution presume the innocence of all who are accused of wrongdoing until such guilt is established."

Warner has promised to print copies of the document for the electorate of Chaguanas West. He has planned to file nomination papers on Thursday to contest the vacant seat as a member of the UNC.

Warner has said that he remains committed to the People's Partnership government and that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is the best leader this country has ever had or is likely to have for a long time to come.

Read related story: Warner strikes back: legal eagles talk of 'Kangaroo court' and unfair processes - Inside World Football

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai