02 Jun 2012
- Written by T&T Guardian
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Documents obtained by the T&T Guardian have shed new light on the ownership of the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, the multi-million-dollar football facility at Macoya.
They show that the centre, built on just over seven acres of land, is jointly owned by two companies—CCAM and Co Ltd and Renraw Investments Ltd.
Renraw is “Warner” spelt backwards. The company’s annual return for 2011 lists Warner, his wife, Maureen and son Daryan as directors of Renraw Ltd.
Warner and Renraw also took out multi-million-dollar mortgages on the centre. The Centre of Excellence is the subject of a legal battle between FIFA, the world governing body for football, and Warner, who is a former president of Concacaf and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and a vice-president of FIFA.
FIFA said last month it plans to take legal steps to recover the ownership of the centre, said to be worth US$25.5 million, which FIFA says it funded. FIFA said the centre was signed over to Warner’s family firms. Warner, however, has said it belongs to the CFU.
Warner resigned as an executive member of FIFA last year during an investigation into the bribing of CFU officials at a meeting held in Port-of-Spain with Mohammed bin Hammam, a Qatari football administrator who had said he planned to run for election as FIFA president. In July 2011, FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned bin Hammam from football-related activities for life.
The T&T Guardian has obtained a copy of a registered mortgage document, dated July 2007, that shows Warner was one of the borrowers. His family firm Renraw Investments Ltd is also listed, and Warner signed the statement as a director of Renraw. The property was mortgaged three times according to the official documents, firstly on August 10, 1998, for $2 million, then on September 18 for US$475,000 and thirdly, in 2007 for $11 million.
Warner signed the first and third mortgages. Warner could not be reached for comment yesterday. He is in Tobago with his Cabinet colleagues for a People’s Partnership Government retreat and did not answer calls to his cellphone.
About the centre
The land on which the Centre of Excellence stands was first owned by West Indian Oil Industries Ltd, then acquired by Lever Brothers in 1963. It was transferred to Renraw Investments Ltd in March 1996. The centre was named after former president of the world body Dr Joao Havelange of Brazil and was opened in 1998.
The centre includes a swimming pool, a “garden sanctuary,” a fitness centre, a hotel, an 800-capacity theatre, a banquet and reception hall, and several other meeting halls. The Marvin Lee Stadium is also part of the centre.
Statement of charge
The statement of charge, a document related to a mortgage application, dated June 25, 2007, under Section 251 of the Companies Act, 1995 states: “Memorandum of Mortgage dated the 4th of June two thousand and seven made by CCAM and Company Ltd and Renraw Investments Ltd (Mortgagors) the said CCAM and Company Ltd, Renraw Investments Ltd, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) CCAM and Company Ltd, Jack Austin Warner and the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence (the borrowers) in favour of First Citizens Bank Ltd.”