Port of Spain, Trinidad — Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday denied allegations by former United National Congress (UNC) chairman and government minister Jack Warner that funds from FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) were used in 2010 for the political campaigns for the UNC’s internal elections and the general election.
Persad-Bissessar also said the UNC may consider an audit of its finances, given the fact that Warner has been indicted by the US government for wire fraud and money laundering.
She said any personal allegations Warner made about her will be placed in the hands of her attorneys.
“I keep saying my hands are clean and my heart is free. I am not concerned. Kamla received no funds from Mr Warner,” she told the media at her home.
“I deny any FIFA funding was used to the campaign of the UNC and of the People’s Partnership. Any allegations about me, I place those in the hands of my lawyers.
“Given all these indictments coming down with Mr Warner, we will consider whether we should do an audit of any funds for the UNC in respect to that,” she said.
“No one would have known whether or not it was FIFA funding. I have cheques in my possession where people made donations to the UNC, but they commingled and ran through some account by the name of JAMAD or something.
“The party will take up those issues. I know he released some cheques about JAMAD which were deposited to Mr Ross. Mr Ross runs an advertising agency as others and is free to contract and make arrangements with persons and companies to their own benefit and promotion. I am not concerned.”
At public meetings over the last week, following his arrest and appearance in court for fraud and money laundering charges while he was vice-president of FIFA, Warner sent a message to Persad-Bissessar that “the gloves were off” and that he had evidence he financed her campaign in the party’s internal elections and then the 2010 general election.
Persad-Bissessar said with regard to whether FIFA funds may have financed the UNC or the People’s Partnership, the party will issue a release to answer those allegations.
“With respect to the party, the party will answer in due course,” she said.
“It is his plan to distract from the major issues that he is facing. He is trying to involve us in a political dimension, but the greater dimension is the legal and justice dimension,” she added.
The Prime Minister said she spent the Corpus Christi holiday yesterday with her family, planting various trees and flowers in her garden.