FIFA suspend Watson from watchdog committee

| 16/09/2014

(CNS): Local businessman Canover Watson, who was arrested by the RCIPS last month on suspicion of corruption, has now been suspended from his role with the international football body on its audit and compliance committee. The chairman, Domenico Scala, said Tuesday that a decision had been made “to temporarily relieve, until further notice, Canover Watson” of his duties, but added that the presumption of innocence still applied to the now suspended official. He also said that there appeared to be no connection with the allegations here in Cayman, which are denied by Watson, to his role in football administration on the eight-member committee meant to scrutinize FIFA's books.

Scala said that although preliminary investigations had not established any connection between the allegations and Watson's role in football, he had been suspended while the police investigation in Cayman continues.

"After a preliminary clarification of the facts of the case and the allegations of the Cayman Island investigating authorities against Canover Watson, no connection with football and/or his role at association level has been established at this stage," FIFA said. "This should not be regarded as routine procedure, because cases like this or of this nature must always be assessed on their individual merits," added the association, which has itself been embroiled in years of corruption related scandals.

Canover Watson was questioned last month by officers from the anti-corruption and financial crime units over allegations relating to a swipe-card billing system implemented at the hospital and the details of the tender. At the time the $11+ million contract was awarded Watson was chair of the Health Service Authority board. Police arrested him on suspicion of abuse of public office, breach of trust, conflict of Interest and money laundering. Watson was released on police bail until 29 September.

Following his arrest Watson issued a short statement denying the allegations, stating that in due course he would set out his position but while the police investigation continued, his attorneys had advised him not to make any further comment.

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