Concacaf Football - Under-fire Warner quits as Trinidad security minister

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner resigned as Trinidad and Tobago’s national security minister two days after an investigation accused him of "fraudulent" management of the CONCACAF football confederation.

Reuters
Concacaf Football  - Under-fire Warner quits as Trinidad security minister
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Trinidad and Tobago's National Security Minister Jack Warner leaves after an emergency cabinet meeting at the private residence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Reuters)

Warner, who stepped down as CONCACAF president in 2011 after a "cash-for-votes" scandal, was accused on Friday at a congress of football officials in Panama of tricking the body that represents football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean out of ownership of the $26 million Centre of Excellence in Port of Spain. He is also facing an FBI probe over a separate issue.

"I have today accepted the offer of resignation of the Minister of National Security, Mr. Jack Warner from the Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago," Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said in a statement.

Pressure on Warner to resign built up over the weekend after one of the major partners in Trinidad’s four-member party coalition government called for Warner’s firing.

The prime minister, who returned to Trinidad on Saturday night from visits to the United States and Canada, made the announcement after summoning her Cabinet to a meeting at her private residence on Sunday.

Warner left the meeting without speaking to reporters.

CONCACAF’s congress in Panama was presented with a detailed report into allegations of financial mismanagement by Warner and ex-general secretary Chuck Blazer, based on documents and interviews with 38 people.

"I have recounted a sad and sorry tale in the life of CONCACAF, a tale of abuse of position and power, by persons who assisted in bringing the organisation to profitability, but who enriched themselves at the expense of their very own organizations," said David Simmons, a former Barbados chief justice, who heads CONCACAF’s Integrity Committee.

The report found that Warner, 70, did not disclose to CONCACAF or world football body FIFA that a $26 million Centre of Excellence was built on land owned by his companies.

Warner walked away from football in 2011 and avoided facing a FIFA Ethics Commission inquiry relating to bribery allegations surrounding the body’s presidential election. He was accused of helping Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar to bribe Caribbean football officials so they would back a bid by Bin Hamman to become FIFA’s president.

Bin Hammam and Warner both have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Warner is also facing an FBI probe over a separate issue.

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