WICB turns ‘allegations of wrongdoing’ over to lawyer

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – The West Indies Cricket Board, on Thursday, said it was contemplating legal action in the face of what it considered to be allegations of “wrongdoing and misappropriation of WICB funds by present members”, which have been made by former board officials.

Pointing to calls for a forensic audit of the WICB’s finances in a media report carried last week by noted cricket website ESPNCricinfo, the board said these were “without any basis in fact” and “completely false, and seriously damaging” to the board’s members and auditors.

Further, the WICB slammed the calls by former officials as an “emotional reaction” to its decision to snub the recent Caricom Governance Report, which had recommended the immediate dissolution of the board.

“The WICB notes that these allegations appear triggered not by fact or evidence but an emotional reaction to the WICB’s response to the Caricom sub committee’s report and other matters. These officials have completely ignored the written responses of the WICB,” the board said in a strongly-worded release.

“The Board has been advised that in a number of instances the call for a forensic audit carries the suggestion of wrongdoing and misappropriation of WICB funds by present members of the WICB.

“Additionally, it suggests the auditors are either incompetent or complicit. These allegations are completely false, and seriously damaging to the reputation of the WICB, its members, and auditors.”

The release continued: “The WICB has therefore decided that these are serious allegations and has referred the matter to Senior Counsel, Anthony Astaphan of Dominica, for his advice and recommendations.”

In the ESPNCricinfo article, former WICB president Ken Gordon was quoted as saying that a forensic audit of the board was needed in order to “lift the clouded veil which now surrounds that body”.

Trinidadian Gordon, who led the WICB between 2006 and 2008, said such an audit would be the starting point of “getting the WICB right”.

He had made a similar call in July, according to ESPNCricinfo.

Ex-corporate secretary, Tony Deyal also agreed with Gordon’s call, warning of a “deep threat of the absolute and total downfall of West Indies cricket”.

But in its pushback against the former officials, the WICB said Thursday audits had been conducted by independent companies Price Waterhouse and KPMG, and reports had been made available to the public.

“These calls for a forensic audit by the former officials are without any basis in fact, and importantly, notwithstanding, that these former officials are aware that the WICB has for many years retained internal and external auditors,” the board argued.

“The Board’s internal and external audits are done and authorised by Price Waterhouse and KPMG respectively, and accounts are published by or available from the WICB on all its platforms, including the website where the reports are available.”

Last weekend, following a Board of Directors meeting in Roseau, the WICB announced it was forecasting a surplus for the financial year ending September 30.

It also noted that all financial statements had been prepared “in conjunction with its internal and external auditors, Price Waterhouse and KPMG respectively”.

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