A close ally of former Youth and Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah has told the Commission of Inquiry probing the Brazil 2014 fiasco that a fee of $19,831 was charged as commission by an Angolan ‘errand boy’ for the Ghana World Cup Committee.
He said the Angolan, named Benabe, was paid the huge amount just for taking the World Cup committee around town during the World Cup.
Lawrence Acheampong, who described himself as the ‘eye and leg’ of the former sports minister, said a staggering fee of $135,000 was blown on just food items purchased from Redemais, a supermarket in Brazil.
He went on to tell the Justice Senyo Dzamefe-led commission that transporting the food items from Redemais to the team’s camp of about 20 km cost Ghana $1,950, describing the distance as ‘from the Accra Stadium to Madina’.
The purchase order for food items for day one, costing $41,130 read: “Chicken thigh- 50kg, Fish- 50k, Beef – 100kg, Gizzard – 50kg, Chicken Wings – 50kg, Beans – 25kg, Gari – 25kg,Tomato – 20 tins, Tomatoes – 20 tins, Onions – 4 bags, Garlic – 4 bags, Spaghetti – 10 bags, Rice – no quantity, Oil – one big gallon, Pepper/carrots/lettuce — no quantity.
The commission wondered why the committee had to hire an agency – Al Continental, which charged huge commissions for services like renting of buses, and event organization, after visiting Brazil three times for feasibilities studies.
Again, the commission inquired why the last purchase order recorded the highest fee of $51,000 after it was obvious that the number of fans in camp had reduced drastically.
The witness struggled to provide concrete answers for the questions.
He stated that besides his close relationship with the former sports chief which landed him the job of ‘utility player’ in Brazil, constant thoughts of the Ghana coat of arms in his vision was the driving force for the work he executed.
The witness expressed shock regarding the presentations made by the three caterers – Kenkey Boutique, Amber Foods and Monees Foods – hired to prepare food for Ghanaian fans in Brazil.
He described the caterers’ submissions as false and wondered why the three of them sang the ‘same song’ when they appeared before the commission last week.
According to the witness, the caterers grabbed the cooking offer with both hands and thanked the committee profusely for agreeing to pay them about $20,000 per head. He indicated that the CEO of Monees Foods nearly lay prostrate in thanking the committee when she realized the amount involved considering the period of the contract (15 days).
The witness, an IT consultant, mentioned that two of the caterers – Kenkey Boutique and Amber Foods – had a bone of contention regarding the quota.
He described their presentations as lies, and expressed shock why they decided to peddle falsehood.
According to Mr Acheampong, claims by Mrs Quashigah of Amber Foods fame that the supermarket said it would send receipts of items purchased via e-mail was not true.
Earlier, Amber Foods pointed out that they would have purchased the food items at a price cheaper than the one quoted by Mr Acheampong. Again, he described the assertion as not feasible taking into account the World Cup season.
The witness, who told the commission he received $100 as per diem per day, dispelled claims about his acquisition of properties from the Brazil soccer festival.
Justice Dzamefe gave him another chance to ponder over the question regarding properties he acquired after the World Cup, and he responded in the negative.
When asked about his recommendations to avoid the recurrence of shortcomings in future he said: “…all the operational committees admitted there were shortcomings and have resolved to make sure it doesn’t resurface when given the chance again.
“Much also depends on the players, if they had won and excelled…”
And commissioner Moses Foh Amoaning summed it up for the witness saying, “If we had excelled, there would have been more spending and there wouldn’t have been a Commission of Inquiry to probe into what went wrong.”
Meanwhile, Agbesi Nutsu, a commandant at the Ghana camp, earlier said supporters who went in the name of protocol (holidaymakers) refused to sleep in pairs.
The camp commandant, who told the commission that he received nothing by way of per diem, admitted that some angry fans dumped refuse in his room for leaving them behind for Fortaleza. However, he indicated that the fans cleared it on his arrival.