The budget details for the Black Stars participation at the 2014 World Cup is a state secret, according to Ibrahim Sannie Daara.
The Director of Communications at the Ghana Football Association was reacting to the news broken by two media outlets, Citi FM and the Captivating Ghana Sports newspaper, that they had details of the breakdown of the budget for the tournament.
“As we speak now those figures speculated in the media have got no legs to stand on,” Sannie said in a debate on the state-owned Ghana Television. “I’d say with no equivocation that as I sit here as Director of Communications of the GFA, I’ve not seen the breakdown.”
“The Chief of Staff has said that this is a state secret and if someone brings it and if I am not able to authenticate it, I will say that person s carrying a false document.” The former BBC journalist had been invited to GTV’s Sunday Night Live show hosted by Christopher Opoku and Karl Tufuoh.
Also invited were the Sports Editor of Peace FM, Dan Kweku Yeboah and Gary Al-Smith, Citi Sports’ editor.
Last week, Yeboah and Al-Smith released figures from documents they had intercepted which showed that, among other things, the officials who make up the Black Stars management committee will get slightly more bonuses than the players themselves during the group stages of the World Cup.
But even though Sannie admitted that he had not seen the budget breakdown, he insisted that what the two journalists were reporting were “concoctions”, going further to call Al-Smith a “liar” who uses lies as his “stock in trade.”
The FA spokesman challenged the two journalists to show him documents from the office of the Chief of Staff, which is – according to him – the only place the breakdown could have been leaked from.
“If anybody comes out with any breakdown, unless I see the documents as authentic from the Chief of Staff’s Office I will say that [whatever they have as a] document is a ruse,” Sannie said.
Sannie revealed that after meetings with the Chief of Staff, everyone present had been charged not to discuss the details of the budget, but quickly dismissed claims that the GFA do not want the public to know.
On his part, Dan Kweku Yeboah also contended that taxpayers’ money cannot be used for projects and be labelled state secrets, “unless they think there are things to hide from the people of Ghana.”
Citi Sports editor Al-Smith also pointed out that as a fundamental principle of journalism, he was under no obligation to disclose sources.
Al-Smith told the FA spokesman: “You’ve been a journalist for more than 15 years. Look at me very carefully, do I look like a journalist who will disclose my sources to you?” A visibly angry Sannie charged: “How dare you talk to me like that?”
The program remained heated until it had to be abruptly ended by the hosts.
When contacted, producers at GTV however told Citi Sports that the show was ended because it had overrun and not because of an order from senior management, as was widely speculated in the past few days.