Elvis Afriyie Ankrah
Former Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, has said he does not know where his office is at the moment and therefore regards himself as a Minister without portfolio.
Afriyie Ankrah, who was recently re-assigned by President John Mahama to the Presidency as a Minister of State after an abysmal performance by the Black Stars at the Brazil World Cup and a number of problems that bedeviled supporters he (Elvis) airlifted to Brazil, admits he has let down Ghanaians.
Speaking in a televised interview on Metro TV on Sunday, the former Minister of Youth and Sports denied rumours of a sexual encounter between him and a movie star he sent to Brazil as an ambassador for Ghana at the World Cup.
He said at no point did he even came into contact with any of the female ambassadors sent to Brazil.
The Minister said he was glad that wife was with him in Brazil, otherwise, according to him, she would have perceived the events in a different manner.
Ghana performed badly at this year’s World Cup and failed to progress beyond the group stages for the first time in three appearances.
When Mr Afriyie Ankrah was asked by his host, Paul Adom Otchere, what he thinks should be the future of the team and whether the entire team should be dissolved, his answer was,’that is not my job, and then again you have forgotten that I am no longer Sports Minister. I am Minister without portfolio. I don’t know where my office is.’
Asked about how he received the information of his re-assignment, he said, he was called and told that as part of the President’s restructuring of his Cabinet, his ministry will be affected and that he has been moved to the Presidency.
He described as ‘most unfortunate’ the public announcement by his then Deputy, Joseph Yammin, that monies were going to be flown in an aircraft.
‘That was most unfortunatewe had been doing this since Friday very quietly with the security people. Nobody knew about it and so it wasn’t meant to be announced I don’t think that my deputy wanted to create chaos. I don’t think so but I think I was not here and there was pressure, is the money going to come, where is the money, money, and so out of that pressure, and all of us we are human, sometimes we crumble under pressure and you the media, sometimes you are relentless and persistent so I think that out of that pressure, he just blurted it out and didn’t realise the ramifications and impact because it became an international incident, but he is human.’
So if you were to pay winning bonuses, did you have money to do that in Brazil, assuming you had beaten the Americans you would have paid a winning bonus of several thousands , the host asked?
‘We had sufficient money which government had released, money to us to coverwe had money,’ he said.
When asked whether they had cash to pay the winning bonus, he said it was not compulsory to pay immediately after every won match and that they would have paid after the qualifying stage, but couldn’t say for sure whether they had cash to pay. He said the immediate issue was the appearance fees which they needed to clear.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah said the lingering issue was that at a point, he wanted to dare everybody and said they will put the money in their accounts and damn the consequences but the coach, the FA and everybody, including the President, had promised that the money (cash) was going to come.
As an experienced politician, Mr Afriyie Ankrah admitted letting President Mahama down and apologised to him because he had promised to bring the cup home to Ghana. ‘I apologise to Ghanaians too but there were circumstances beyond everybody’s control’.
He said the players held Ghana to ransom and felt sorry for the Captain, Asamoah Gyan who kept telling him (Elvis) that the players were not listening to him (Gyan) anymore and wanted to see the money first.
He said there was political conspiracy against him because of the successes he had achieved politically and the way in which Ghana qualified for the World Cup.
Source: Daily Graphic.com.gh
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