Ghana’s widely condemned decision to physically transport about US$4.5 million cash to Brazil to settle players and officials who represented the country in the ongoing World Cup tournament, may have inadvertently benefited the Brazilian government with an estimated windfall of about US$790,000 (approximately GH¢2.3 million).
The amount was realised by Brazil from a 17 percent tax slapped on the US$100,000 received by each player and official from the cash which was sent aboard a chartered plane from Ghana to Brazil.
It was broadcast live on international news networks in a spectacle that has placed Ghana at the receiving end of a global ridicule.
Brazilian officials are said to have extracted their legitimate share of the cash before the Ghanaian contingent were allowed to carry theirs to Ghana on Sunday, after they had been defeated by Portugal in the last group stage match by 2 goals to 1.
Information available to DAILY GUIDE indicated that the Brazilian government charged 17 percent tax on the US$ 2.3 million doled out to the players in cash last Wednesday night, while the remaining amount, which allegedly went to the officials, was said to have also been taxed.
The chartered plane was said to have landed in Brasilia at 20:00 (local time) with a heavy police escort, the over $3million was transported to the team’s Brasilia Palace Hotel amidst live telecast by Brazilian television channels and other international media.
Live telecast showed the chartered flight landing on the tarmac. Afterwards, several suitcases of cash were seen being ferried out into two bullion vans amidst a heavy security presence.
Around 10:30 pm local time, approximately 11 paramilitary vans were seen escorting the two bullion vans to the Brasilia Palace Hotel. The suitcases were offloaded and $100,000 cash were doled out to each player on table top.
Brazilian news agency portal Globo.com had published exclusive pictures of Black Stars players receiving their appearance fees.
A member of the Black Stars management committee, Kwadwo Adu-Asare, has confirmed the 17 percent tax charged on the controversial Stars’ ‘appearance fees.’
Mr. Adu Asare told Accra-based Joy FM over the weekend that he was aware about US$ 17,000 was charged on each player’s money.
“It’s a shame people did not know this and advise appropriately,” Adu Asare complained.
Confusion In Camp
Just before the team’s last group match against Portugal, confusion over unpaid FIFA-approved ‘appearance fee’ to the Black Stars players, saw the John Dramani Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration send the over $3 million in cash to Brazil to settle the outstanding fees.
The players were threatening to boycott their last match if the money was not paid. According to Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, their insistence on getting their entitlements paid in cash, stemmed from the mistrust of the players for the Ghanaian Football Association (GFA) and government officials that accompanied them to Brazil.
Apparently, the players did not trust the officials after they (officials) had failed to honour their obligations twice – before Ghana’s first match against USA and the second match against Germany.
The non-payment of the money caused serious rancour in the Ghanaian camp in Brazil, culminating in a breakdown of discipline and an eventual free-for-all brawl that led to the sacking of players like Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
President Mahama justified the controversial trans-continental airlifting of cash, saying even though it was ‘unconventional’, it was ‘necessary’.