Cricket news - Michael Holding accuses CWI of 'financial misappropriation'

Holding has ripped into the workings of CWI

Holding has ripped into the workings of CWI

Former West Indian great, Michael Holding, has lambasted Cricket West Indies (CWI) and has alleged that the board has misappropriated funds close to half-a-million dollars donated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The legendary pacer was talking on a Youtube show named "Mikey - Holding Nothing Back" hosted by Asif Khan and revealed the audited report of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF), on the governance of the game in the Caribbean Islands.

Speaking about BCCI's donation, Holding said: "Way back in 2013-14, the BCCI donated half-a-million US dollars to the West Indies Cricket Board specifically to go to past players. Now, I'm a past player but I'm not saying I want any of it but I know a lot of past players. I have never heard of one cent out of that half a million US dollars going to any past player. I'm absolutely sure that if they had done that, they would have done a big hullabaloo about it, and made a big press conference. Where is that half a million dollars"? Holding questioned while also adding that he would reveal more about this in the next episode of the podcast.

The legendary pacer then started to pick holes on the administration through the audit report, a copy of which he had with him. "This is the audit report, it's 60-odd pages on it and I have been reading it. It does not look good.

"It is a very damning, harsh report on the West Indies Cricket Board," Holding noted. "And I want to tell you, to be honest, I picked (just) three items. I made my little script from these three items that I have picked in this report and I'm going to go through them. People in the Caribbean in particular would be very interested in hearing these.

1. In 2018, Cricket West Indies (CWI) received funds of around USD 134,200 from a sponsor on or about 8th of August, 2018, on behalf of the Dominica Cricket Association, from a third party, which appears to be an off-shore corporation. It's unclear why the funds didn't go directly to the Dominica Cricket Association (DCA). This money was paid over to the DCA in three transits - a USD 104,100 on the 16th of November, 2018 - USD 15,700 on the 2nd of August, 2019 and USD 14,400 on the 21st of September, 2019. In this particular situation, CWI was the financial conduit - the underlying concerns are - a. What due diligence was performed to ensure that the source of these funds were legitimate and the funds clean from an anti-money laundering compliance perspective.

b. What measures were taken to minimize the risk that CWI may have been involved in money laundering. It should be noted that we were unable to find an executed agreement / bonafide for this transaction and the funds were supposedly to be specifically marked for cricket development in Dominica. There is no evidence that CWI obtained confirmation from the DCA that the funds were used as directed.

2. Holding then went into an audited report about a private loan given to St. Lucian IBC - International Business Corporation. Reading from the auditor's report, Holding continued - 'This was a loan of about USD 125,000 made by a CWI sponsor to a company named 'Resilier incorporated'. This loan was made in December 2013 - Holding demanded to know as to why this loan given to what possibly could have been an off-shore company be recorded in the CWI's auditing books. Demanding transparency, the former fast bowler asked if any of the member or a former member was a shareholder of 'Resilier incorporation'

3. In September, 2018, an unknown Human Resource committee member proposed to the board about a 'change management program' - for staff of CWI, the team management and the players, to be facilitated by him at a cost of USD 134,500. This matter was discussed by the directors during the September board meeting and not approved due to the high cost and the cash-flow constraints of the board. Subsequently in a discussion between two West Indies administration members, the same HR committee member proposed running the same program in a three-phased manner. It would be delivered first for the staff, then the team management and then the players - all coming at a new cost of USD 180,000. His services were then procured without a signed agreement or contract or an approval from the HR committee or the board. The program was put on hold by the new committee that was formed after the elections with around USD 30,000 being incurred as costs. Now the question that arises is who were the two cricket administrators and how could the program have started without the approval of the board or a contract signed? If there was any undue process, will CWI be seeking compensation from those considered to have been in the breach?

Holding also refused to buy the theory that confidential reports would not need to be made public by the CWI. "They can claim confidentiality if they are a private company. You cannot claim to be a private company if you have public share-holders. The share-holders of CWI are six regional boards. They are hiding behind a clause to not release the report," he added.

Responding to Holding's claims, CWI president, Ricky Skeritt, refused accusations that the board was trying to hold back on the report. "I can confidently assure you that at no time was there any decision taken by the board or anyone associated with CWI to 'hide', 'conceal', 'withhold' or 'hold back' the PKF report," he said to the Caribbean press.

"However, in light of an apparent recent access to some of its contents by the media, the CWI Board will now have to contemplate whether it may be appropriate at this time for the report to be shared publicly," he further added.