Former Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie – Ankrah, has told the Commission of Enquiry into Ghana’s appearance at the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup that the GFA budget presented his Ministry and based on which government largely pre-financed the outing of the Black Stars, went through “a rigorous process” before Cabinet finally approved the budget.
Mr. Afriyie Ankrah, made this statement on the first day of his appearance before the three man commission chaired by Justice Senyo Dzamefe.
Answering questions on a variety of issues relating to Ghana’s preparation for the Global Showpiece, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah took the Commission through the various steps the Budget was taken through before it was finally approved by Cabinet.
According to him, when the Ghana Football Association submitted the Budget to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the ministry ‘thoroughly’ reviewed the Budget and made the necessary deductions and additions to it together with the GFA; a process which according to him took several weeks to complete.
He explained that after the Ministry and GFA finalized the budget, the budget was presented to the Chief of Staff, who also reviewed the budget, before passing it to Cabinet.
At Cabinet, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah explained that after much deliberations on the budget, Cabinet set up a cabinet sub-committee to further review the Budget and it was after the work of this sub-committee was done, that Cabinet met to approve the Budget for the team’s appearance at the World Cup.
“We did a very thorough review of GFA budget before it was approved. It took several meetings, went through a very rigorous process which saw us subtracting and adding before final budget was gotten”, he added.
Mr. Afriyie Ankrah also informed the Commission, that the original Budget submitted by the GFA and Ministry included an appearance fee of 100,000 dollars and that it was Cabinet that took the decision to cut it down to $82,500. He indicated that the initial information from the players suggested that the players were demanding $120,000 as appearance fees but since he thought it was a figure he could not defend at Cabinet, he agreed with the Football Association to slash it down to $100,000. He noted that the Ministry and GFA arrived at that decision based on the fact that Ghana had paid $75,000 in appearance fees to the players during the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
Mr. Afriyie Ankrah’s appearance follows that of the Chief Director and Chief Accountant of the Ministry of Youth and Sports who disclosed that government actually spent a little over $400,000 on the team since the GFA had decided to take up the major cost elements including the appearance fees, bonuses, honorariums, preparation for the tournament and such other costs.