Afriyie Ankrah Grilled
Former Minister of Youth and Sports Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, who was relieved of his duties following the World Cup debacle, was yesterday summoned to the Flagstaff House to answer some serious questions, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.
A source close to the Presidency told the paper that “the President has summoned the out-going Sports Minister to appear at the Presidency by 2:00pm today to answer serious questions in relation to the poor organisaation of the recent World Cup participation of Ghana in Brazil.”
The minister, according to the source, had planned to stay in Brazil till Friday July 4, 2014, before returning to the country, but was forced to cut short his ‘extended holidays’ to appear before the ‘Sanhedrin’ to answer probing questions from a panel that had been constituted by the President.
Present were the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Alhassan and the Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Pious Awelinga, who took part in the beleaguered Minister’s interrogation, DAILY GUIDE gathered.
President John Mahama was said to have expressed disgust at Mr Afriyie-Ankrah and his former Ministry’s decision to take monies generated from the various sponsorship packages including those of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), headline sponsors of the Black Stars and other institutions, to Brazil without the express consent and approval of the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani.
Mr Afriyie-Ankrah was said to have left the Presidency with a long, grim face.
Meanwhile, President Mahama is said to have issued directives for the newly-appointed National Security Coordinator, Yaw Donkor, to make a list of all government appointees, especially Ministers of State, who went to Brazil without permission from the Presidency.
This comes a day after travel and tour operators contracted by government to airlift Ghanaian soccer fans to Brazil called for a probe into the conduct of the Minister.
The two agencies, Kenpong Travel and Tours and African Origin Travels & Sports Tourism, are convinced that financial and organisational scandals that rocked the Ghanaian contingent in Brazil could be directly attributed to the Sports Minister.
Allegations of financial impropriety and conflict of interest in the travel arrangement of the more than 600 Ghanaian football fans who were airlifted to Brazil had been directed at the Sports Minister and the GFA officials.
Following the damning allegations emanating from the botched Ghanaian campaign in Brazil, President John Mahama has announced the setting up of a committee of inquiry to probe the matter.
The Chief Executive of Kenpong Travel & Tours, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong, in an interview with host of Peace FM’s flagship programme ‘Kokrokoo’, accused Mr Afriyie-Ankrah of breaching the terms of their contract by personally taking over their responsibilities for providing transportation, feeding and accommodation for the teeming Ghanaian football fans that travelled to Brazil.
According to him, after airlifting 270 passengers to Brazil on the ticket of government, the former Minister arrogated to himself some organisational responsibilities regarding the handling of supporters at the World Cup.
Also addressing the issue on Peace FM, the Director of Finance at Kenpong Travel & Tours, George Amoako, recounted that even though government authorised his company to fly the supporters to Brazil, organise their internal transportation and also ensure better accommodation, “a lot of the arrangements were cancelled…the accommodation for the passengers. It was cancelled and the Ministry said they were going to accommodate the passengers themselves. The arrangement we made for the accommodation were cancelled.”