The Grenada Football Association (GFA) has announced the suspension from duties of its embattled Technical Director, Lester Smith who is facing criminal charges.
The decision comes approximately three weeks after Smith was charged by police for a number of fraud related offences in connection with an unfolding United States Visa scam.
THE NEW TODAY newspaper understands that the Executive Committee of GFA reached the decision during a meeting held on October 27, where an unanimous decision was taken to have Smith suspended from his duties, with half pay with effect from November 01st, 2015, until further notice.
A release from the association also said that: the Committee took the further decision to conduct an independent inquiry into allegations brought against Smith of forgery and falsification of documents, in his capacity as Technical Director at GFA.
No mention was made about a possible replacement for Smith.
46-year old Smith is one of three persons arrested and charged in connection with the US Visa scam that is believed to have started sometime around 1991.
He is facing 5 counts of forgery, 4 counts of possession of forged document and 1 count of conspiracy to forge.
The Tempe, St. George resident was picked up by police officers on October 19 along with co-accused, well-known basketball coach, 56-year-old Nigel “German” Mc Kie, a resident of The Carenage in St. George’s.
The basketball coach, suspected to be the mastermind of the scheme, has been slapped with 1 count of conspiracy to forge a document and 1 count of possession of forged document.
Smith and Mc Kie are also jointly charged with five counts of conspiracy to utter a forged document.
Both accused are currently on EC$50, 000 bail and will return to court on December 8 for their second appearance.
Last week investigating officers made another arrest in the visa scam when Gary Stephen who is associated with Photo Max studio was picked up and slapped with two charges – possession of a forged document and conspiracy to forge a document.
The Concord resident is currently on EC$20, 000 bail.
Police have not ruled out charges being laid against other persons as they intensify their investigations into the US visa racket.