Sidney Casely-Hayford has described the revelations at the Commission of Inquiry set up to examine issues surrounding the Black Stars’ participation in the Brazil World Cup as thievery.
Mr. Casely-Hayford said he was aghast at the fact that “contracts which were signed and understandings which had been made” had been changed in Brazil.
On Tuesday, it was revealed at the Commission by Horace Ankrah who chaired the Grounds, Events and Logistics Sub-committee that, $35 per head was paid for cooking for each Ghanaian supporter in Brazil, despite agreeing on an amount of Ghc34 with caterers.
The Sports Minister at the time, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, in response to the uproar over the revelation, explained on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday that it would have been unrealistic to feed the supporters with Ghc34 ($10) a day and released a statement to that effect.
However, Mr. Casely-Hayford, speaking on The Big Issue on Saturday, believes the whole process was a deliberate ploy by some people to siphon state funds.
“I think that we should define this thing as thievery; this is plain theft that happened. This is not incompetence. This, the way it is unraveling, is a deliberate attempt by a group of people to make as much money as they can from the Black Stars.”
He questioned the amount of money spent on cooking for the supporters and the treatment of the caterers in Brazil.
“Who provides Kenkey and Sardine at $35 a day? That’s over Ghc115 [at the current exchange rate],” he queried.
“The cost of living in Brazil is lower than the cost of living in Ghana.
And [The caterers] were asked to bring samples every time they came to talk to the Committee. If that isn’t blatant corruption I don’t know what is,” he added. “That was totally unnecessary.”
Mr. Casely-Hayford also pointed out inconsistencies in the reports of the issues with the flying of the supporters to watch the Black Stars matches.
“If you engage a proper company to fly your team, and there is a problem with the original flight, they have to provide another one because you have paid them.
“Now we have to find out if they paid them and in case they did, did we get value for money? If they didn’t where did the money end up?
He stated that he was convinced the whole process was a deliberate plan to siphon funds and not simply a matter of incompetence on the part of officials.
“I don’t hear Fred Darko Elvis taking responsibility. I don’t hear Afriyie-Ankrah taking responsibility, I don’t hear anyone else taking responsibility.”
“This is not a botched-up situation. It is a deliberate attempt to siphon money out of a particular project. It is a clear program to steal money,” he opined.
Several people involved with the Black Stars campaign in Brazil have already appeared before the Commission with a few of them shedding tears while being questioned; including former Youth and Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah.