Embattled former Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has drawn various top officials of the current Mahama administration directly into the Brazil 2014 mess which saw a scandal filled World Cup appearance.
His testimony last week has left the Presidential Commission investigating the Brazil debacle with huge headaches over whether to invite such top officials or avoid such an action which could obviously spiral into various unforeseen issues on its own.
Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has been giving evidence on his role as Minister of Youth and Sports in issues that marred the appearance of Ghana at the World Cup.
Chief of Staff
Giving evidence on the first day of his appearance, the current Minister of State at the Presidency, cited various close collaborations with the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani on his schedules relating to the World Cup appearance of Ghana.
He mentioned while giving evidence to the three man commission of close collaborations with the Chief of Staff over first of all, the Black Stars budget, before it was finally approved by Cabinet and the project to send hundreds of supporters to Brazil to cheer the team.
He mentioned while giving evidence on Wednesday that after the Ministry agreed with the GFA on a final Budget, the Budget was handed over to the Chief of Staff who also reviewed the Budget, satisfied himself with it and passed it over to Cabinet. At Cabinet, he indicated that a Cabinet Sub-committee was set up to also review it before it was finally approved by Cabinet.
On Thursday, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah also disclosed surprisingly that when he left for Brazil as leader of delegation of the Ghana team, the Ministry’s operations with regards to the World Cup, were directly run by the Chief of Staff.
He disclosed that as part of these duties, the Chief of Staff followed up on monies secured from corporate bodies and also mobilized funding for the supporters to travel to Brazil.
Elvis has also disclosed that Kojo Adu-Asare, who is currently running the YES Fund, was a representative of the Chief of Staff on the planning committee for the World Cup appearance and that the Presidency even sent a two man delegation to Montenegro to meet the players of the National Team to discuss their bonuses and appearance fees.
These revelations make it incumbent that the Ghanaian people hear the side of the Chief of Staff on his roles and his participation in the activities that culminated in our nightmare at Brazil.
Elvis Afriyie Ankrah also disclosed on Thursday that it was Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur who decided to grant the players of the national team their demand for a $100,000 in appearance fees.
“When we got to Brazil, there were several marathon meeting where we myself and the management tried to convince the players to take 82,500. It got to a time where I realized that we had crossed the situation where it was we the government are saying this is what we will give you and you either take it or leave it. I knew that we had gotten to a situation where if we did not take care, there was a real risk that something could happen. So I decided to tell the VEEP. I decided to tell the Vice President also because the Coach told me that he felt this issue should be settled once and for all so as not to affect the team in its matches
I told him the difficulties we were having and we had a discussion, and based on the fact that there was not going to be any extra budgetary costs on the taxpayer, since the money was coming from the FIFA money, he decided to give it to them. The Vice President promised them the $100,000. He was there during their final training session before their first game and announced this decision and the players were happy.”, he said while responding to questions at the Commission sitting.
Elvis has so far not provided the reasons which compelled the Vice President to overrule a Cabinet decision and approve the $100,000, the players had asked for. He also failed to tell the Commission how this decision of the Vice President was arrived at and whether it was a unilateral decision or was based on consultations with the President and his Cabinet which took the earlier decision.
Governor of Bank Ghana
Elvis Afriyie Ankrah in giving his testimony also disclosed interestingly that the first person he contacted when the players demanded for their appearance fees in cash was the Bank of Ghana Governor. Elvis however failed to say in public, what the Bank of Ghana Governor said and what his actions were, in relation to the money that eventually was airlifted aboard the Presidential Jet to Brazil.
The former Minister of Sports also told the Commission that critical to the money issues was the National Security outfit which over saw all the operations relating to how the money was processed and cleared and how it eventually arrived in Brazil.
It will be interesting and significant to know from the National Security how they contributed to deciding on how the money had to be conveyed to Brazil, which led to a global unfortunate spectacle and ridicule for the country.