The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has declared that a total of US$4million was paid to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) on June 23, 2014, in connection with the Black Stars’ appearance fees for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.
The amount, which was paid in cash in two separate transactions the same day, followed series of correspondence among the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), the Chief of Staff, Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.
Testifying before the Justice Dzamefe Commission at the Media Centre of the Accra Stadium yesterday, Mrs Elly Ohene-Adu, Director of Banking Services at the BoG, said even more worrying about the entire episode was that ‘we actually paid the money on a Saturday.’
Mrs Ohene-Adu could not fathom why the appearance fees had to be carried to Brazil by a chartered flight when the BoG had adopted a more effective mode of payment at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
“In 2010, we had a challenge to pay players cash; we resisted fiercely and in the ensuing engagement, we finally succeeded in giving them cheques.
“Three of them gave us their bank details, and for most of them we gave cheques,” she revealed in the company of her counsel, Mr Boateng Barfi-Ankrah.
She said in respect of the allowances, “we actually transferred some funds to the Ghana Embassy in Pretoria for the team’s accommodation, transportation, winning bonus and appearance fees.
Mrs Ohene-Adu recalled that the BoG received a letter from the MoF on May 12, 2014 and another from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department dated May 14, 2014 on May 21, 2014 to transfer US$9,323,787.21, equaivalent to GH¢25,833,724.38, was paid into the National Football Teams US dollar account on May 27, 2014 on the instruction of MOYS.
She also disclosed to the commission that 26 withdrawals had taken place since then, promising to provide the commission with details in camera.
Later on, the Chief Director of the MOYS, Alhaji Abudulai Yakubu, also told the commission that the ministry received a letter from the GFA dated June 25, 2014, and signed by the Acting General Secretary Mr Emmanuel Gyimah, recommending the payment of the Stars’ appearance fees top-up of $17,500 to the $82,500 offered by the government which the players had rejected.
He, however, could not answer Justice Dzamefe’s question as to how the letter got to the MOYS at a time the GFA officials, including the signatory, were all in Brazil.
Mr Abudulai, who gave evidence together with the ministry’s Chief Accountant, Mr Prosper Apasu, stated that the $8,918,945.06 which was approved by the government for the tournament was the same budget sent to the ministry by the GFA and was forwarded to the Presidency for approval by the then Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
The MOYS chief director raised the eyebrows of the three commissioners when he said the GFA submitted its budget, covering each stage of the World Cup, on May 7, 2014, while the ministry’s letter to the Chief of Staff signed by Elvis Ankrah was dated March 15, 2014.
After his submission, Justice Dzamefe directed Mr Abudulai to furnish the commission with the itemised details of how much each of Ghana’s 40-man official contingent, comprising players, technical team and management committee members earned at the 2014 World Cup at today’s sitting at 10a.m.