World Cup Project Coordinator, Fred Darko, yesterday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Brazil 2014 scandal that each of the three caterers Ghana hired for the event pocketed a staggering $17,200 as service fee.
It was also revealed that the three cooks, comprising Kenkey Boutique, Monics Foods and Amber Foods, received an additional $5,000 each as honorarium for the 15 days they spent in Brazil, bringing the total cash received by them to $22,200 each.
However, Fred Darko said he had no knowledge of the said amount (of $5,000) being given to them. Rather, he said, the former Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, gave the caterers $2,000 each on arrival as honorarium.
The Commission wondered why such a colossal figure was doled out just for cooking, after the Ministry had provided the caterers with foodstuff, accommodation and free air tickets.
The witness then tried to justify the expenditure by saying that each of the caterers came along with three workers.
He made a shocking revelation that his team’s intent was just to spend money for the viewing centres back home as well as the exhibition centre in Brazil.
After days of consistently stating that Ghana’s World Cup ambassadors received an amount $200 per day for 15 days as per diem, he made a dramatic U-turn to say that the exact figure was $250, but maintained that other officials received $150, while the players were paid $100 as per diem.
$76,000 For Concert Space
The World Cup Coordinator disclosed that a fee of $76,000 was charged for the half size space they used for the jamboree on the high street of Natal in Brazil.
The Commission asked why the Event Committee failed to secure a proper venue for the concerts with performances from icons like Gyedu Blay Ambulley, Amandzeba Nat Brew and Becca. The witness again defended the committee, saying, “My Lord our intent was to spend and make the fans happy. We did not have any product like the Black Stars to sell.”
But members of the Commission were of the view that performers like Amandzeba were more than enough products to sell Ghana in Brazil, and even funds could have been generated from these concerts which attracted about 10,000 people per session.
The Project Coordinator briefed the Commission about the Akosombo meeting involving all stakeholders ahead of the World Cup, which was aimed at finalising preparations for the Mundial.
And responding to how much state funds was used by way of accommodation, he said GH¢22,000 was spent for the three nights the stakeholders stayed at the hotel.
According to Mr Darko, his team paid $1,849 in various categories for match tickets from the GFA to FIFA.
He pointed out that there was the intent to buy additional tickets in Brazil but the idea was later discarded.
Conflict Of Interest
Members of the Commission, later in their interrogation, pushed him to the wall on why he rode on the back of his personal company, Evolution International, to secure jobs like the creation of Fan Parks in Ghana during the World Cup.
Mr. Darko did not hesitate to remark that the ‘Brazil in Ghana’ concept was a total failure. He mentioned that his outfit’s attempt to secure sponsorship from corporate Ghana for the project yielded no dividend.
Unibank Deny Rumour
The official bank of the Black Stars, Unibank, denied claims that the Debit Card they issued the team accounted for Ghana’s appearance fee transfer challenges.
Executive Director of Technology at Unibank, Owusu-Ansah Awere, revealed that very scanty information regarding the team’s financial situation was available to them while in Brazil.
“It was not true that our card did not work. In fact, it was specially designed for clients for withdrawals across the world, with the ability to withdraw a maximum $4,000 a day,” he added.