The World Cup Committee dished out almost $20,000 as commission on food purchases to Al-Continental, an agency owned by an Angolan in Brazil, for transmitting funds into his account to offset debt incurred by the service providers.
The Brazil based Angolan businessman, took $19,831 as commission on various food items purchased on five occasions for using his account to receive dollar transfers made to Brazil by the World Cup Committee.
Mr. Lawrence Acheampong, who described himself as “the eyes, ears and voice” of the former Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, revealed this when he appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into Brazil World Cup 2014, yesterday.
According to him, the agency (Al-Continental) took 10% of all transactions made on behalf of the committee in Brazil.
Briefing the Commission on the role played by the agency, he said it rendered protocol services, looked for event organizers, funds for shopping in the supermarkets, organized buses and took 10% commission on each of the service he rendered.
Lawrence Acheampong, who did not have any official position in Brazil, told the Commission that he was acting as “the eyes, ears and voice” of the former Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, as he confirmed these revelations.
Although he was neither the coordinator nor a member of the various committees, he was always present at almost subcommittee meetings to enable him convey information to the former Sports Minister.
Despite travelling to Brazil three times to survey the place and prepare the grounds for the supporters and officials, he argued that it was not possible to have transferred the funds into the Ghana mission account in Brazil, because they would not be allowed by the banking regulations to cash more than $10,000 a day.
Mr. Acheampong said the committee still needed the services of the Angolan agent to show the delegation where to buy foodstuff for the caterers.
The Chairman for the Commission, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, revealed in a document tendered in by Mrs. Gertrude Quarshigah that, on a particular instance, where Mr. Acheampong went for the purchase, he spent about $41,300 and the agency took about $41,130 as commission on it and providing directions to the Supermarket, called Redemais.
The Chairman, therefore, wondered why they still had to engage the agency and pay it an outrageous $19,831 as commission after the first shopping, since they already knew the direction to the supermarket.
Justice Dzamefe also did not understand why the money could not be transferred to Ghana’s mission in Brazil rather than depositing it into an agency’s account to attract commission.
Lawrence, who described himself as a “utility player” and a “jack of all trade” played almost the same role as the Coordinator, which compelled a Counsel for the Commission, Jonathan Acquah, to ask him to differentiate his role and that of Fred Darko. He said he deputized for Elvis Afriyie Ankrah at sub-committee meetings.
The Commission had a hard time getting facts from Mr. Acheampong, who was highly elusive with most of the answers.
Justice Dzamefe had to remind him of his oath and the importance of providing the facts of the matter under investigation. The witness referred the Commission to Fred Dark and Danny Annan for several answers, in respect of receipts, reconciliation of accounts and transactions.
Ironically, Fred Darko, who also appeared before the Commission weeks ago to testify, shifted the goal post towards Larry Acheampong, who according to him as one of the officials who supervised the payment of money to service providers in Brazil.
Startled with the answers, Commissioner Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko said: “Fred Darko said Larry and now Larry is saying Danny, I hope Danny would be the last stop.”
Larry Acheampong, also described the three caterers, Mrs. Quarshigah of Amber Quality Foods, Mercy Amina Sackey of Kenkey Boutique and Monica Yawa Ntumy of Moonies as ungrateful people.
He said the caterers who earlier appeared before the commission, wanted to attract the sympathy of the commission, by telling lies to them.
He said “Mrs Quarshigah saying she didn’t know the prices of the items they were buying, I was FLAGABASTERED”..
He told the commission that, there were so many things that Mrs. Quarshigah said that were contrary to what happened. He was of the view that, the caterers have been dully paid and had no justification in making more demands.
Larry Acheampong said with the exception of Mrs. Getrude Quarshigah, who was moody when she was paid, the rest were very happy and praised them for paying that amount.
“My Lord, as for Monica Ntumy, she was so happy that she wanted to lie on the floor after she received her money.
“She was very excited and did not know how to show appreciation. The owner of Kenkey boutique was also happy but demanded more because she claimed she worked harder than the rest.”
According to Acheampong, the caterers were being ungrateful for demanding money from the Planning Committee, after they were paid $19,200 each, for the services rendered