Presidential Staffer and former Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kojo Adu Asare, climaxed his dramatic evidence on a tearful note at the Justice Dzamefe Commission yesterday.
Mr Asare was in the process of rounding off his over two hours’ testimony in his capacity as the chairman of the Protocol and Supporters Welfare Sub-committee when he suddenly broke down in tears in similar fashion as the former Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
Admission of failure, lesson
Following a few minutes’ reprieve by the chairman of the commission, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, Mr Asare put himself together and said he could not bear the pain of being rewarded with mudslinging and allegations of building a house out of the project, after sacrificing for the nation.
“The lesson learnt is that as a nation, we should come clean as to whether to airlift supporters to follow the Black Stars or not,” he stated.
He, however, admitted that things could have been done better, especially with the selection of the three travel and tour agencies – Travel Matters, Kenpong Travel and Tours and African Origin and Sports Tourism – who failed to pre-finance the airlifting of supporters to Brazil as earlier promised.
He told the commission that as the representative of the Chief of Staff on the World Cup project, he was part of the team that met the three agents on the day of departure of the first chartered flight on June 13, 2014 when it came to light that they were struggling with the payment for the hired aircraft.
Barely a few minutes into his interrogation by the Senior State Attorney, Mr Jonathan Acquah, Mr Adu Asare, who told the commission that he lost his mother last Wednesday, began acting in a funny way as he removed his shoes and scratched the sole of his feet at will, prompting Justice Dzamefe to go to his rescue, resulting in a five-minute recess.
On resumption, yet another drama followed almost immediately when Lawyer Prince Frederick Nii Ashie Neequaye surfaced to assist Mr Asare to tender in some documents to support his evidence in the absence of his counsel.
Then a blunder suddenly emerged when an unsigned report from the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), which was to be tendered, was hurriedly signed by Adu Asare only to be withdrawn by the witness immediately after Justice Dzamefe had questioned how he could decide to sign a document he didn’t prepare.
Selection of travel agencies
Mr Asare revealed that though his committee wanted an overall best travel agent to embark on the project, it so happened after the presentation by the nine companies that none of them could meet all the requirements based on its checklist.
He said the committee, therefore, shortlisted five, including Bahmed Travel and Tour, which made an impressive presentation but was not considered due to its high charges of $7,800 per head for economy and $9,100 for business class.
He explained that it was on that basis that his committee finally alloted 235 supporters each to African Origin and Kenpong Travel and Tour, with Travel Matters getting 130.
When Mr Asare confessed that there was no scoring during the interview, Justice Dzamefe expressed wonder as to how come he told the commission that Bahmed finished fourth in the selection process.
Screening of supporters
Mr Asare also disclosed that 29 out of a total 32 supporters unions recognised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) were interviewed by a four-man subcommittee, leading to the selection of the 600 fans they had targeted for the trip to Brazil.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, who was the chairman of the Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts Committee, also told the commission that her outfit’s work came to nought four days to the World Cup when she was told that a cultural troupe that had been prepared to perform in Brazil could not make the trip due to lack of funds.
She said one Dentaa Amoateng broke the news to her on phone and all efforts to reach the former Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, for further details proved futile.
Mrs Agyare said as part of her mandate, she contracted the National Theatre, which selected a performer each from the 10 regions to perform in Brazil, in addition to seven exhibitors which were later reduced to two due to the same problem.
According to her, she was compelled to use her own money to cater for the transportation of all the dancers back to their respective bases when the trip was cancelled.
The evidence given by the chairman of the Media Committee, Mr Ackah Anthony, seemed to have delighted the commissioners and audience as they laughed throughout that session.
No wonder Justice Dzamefe requested his re-appearance on Thursday to furnish the commission with some documents after narrating how Soft Cliq, which was initially selected by the committee as the MOYS’ new website designer, finally lost the job to Gorsel S&T Company Limited.
According to Mr Anthony, who was appointed to chair the committee in his capacity as the president of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), though Gorsel excelled during the interview process, it quoted GH¢27,214 as its charge as against Solid Cliq’s GH¢10,500.
He, however, disclosed that the committee’s decision had to be reversed following a text message received from a committee member, Yaw Ampofo Ankrah, later on preferring Gorsel to take the job to the displeasure of some members.
He said the twists and turns which followed resulted in the unanimous review of the decision in favour of Gorsel.
Support for Black Stars
Interestingly, the three flag-waving commissioners opened yesterday’s sitting with a goodwill message for the Black Stars in their Nations Cup qualifier against Togo in Lome tomorrow.
Justice Dzamefe urged the managers of the Black Stars to sit up in the wake of the team’s poor showing against Uganda, while Moses Foh-Amoaning stressed the need for Ghanaians to support the Stars for Ghana’s victory over Togo, whom he described as a very strong side.
Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko shared the views of his colleagues, adding that “it’s not the fall that matters but the ability to rise from the fall”.