Brazil 2014: GFA Committee to check public expenditure never met since 2012

Presidential Commission of Inquiry has heard how turf wars and a persistent power struggle crippled the ability of an important committee to defend public interest, in how Ghana football was managed and run.

Chairman of the committee and Ghana Football Association (GFA) Executive member, Professor Aloysius Dankabe told the commission that the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (IAC) was never able to meet since 2012, and so played no role in over five major football tournaments, the grandest being the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He was taking his turn Thursday at the Justice Senyo Dzamefe Commission, which is investigating circumstances surrounding the poor World Cup showing by the Black Stars in Brazil.

So far, the commission has heard how operational negligence, lack of due diligence and poor management of public funds rocked the Black Stars’ campaign in Brazil leading to a record first round exit.

Explaining the role of his committee, Professor Dankabe said their functions stipulated under Article 70 of the FA Statutes were to “liaise with the Ministry responsible for sports in the provision of funds by government for the purposes of building the national football teams”.

Formed in 2010, it included football legend Abedi Pele and lawyers such as Ernest Thompson of Accra Hearts of Oak, Thaddeus Sory and Oteng Arthur.

But he revealed, the committee had no supporting staff, no secretariat and did not even know who to liaise with between the Ministry of Finance, Sports and the GFA. This meant that the statutory role to ensure that they scrutinize football policies relating to facilities, funding and technical development of the game was left woefully undone.

The five member committee had three GFA appointees and two government appointees. They only met once in 2012.

Detailing some of the “bones of contention”, the Chairman with great hesitation said there was fighting over “who should have the bigger stake”, the FA  or government.

The Vice-chair, Geofrey Oteng Arthur also later explained that although it was agreed that the chairman was to come from the GFA and the Vice from government, the GFA later kicked out government appointee as the vice chairman and had complete control of the committee including when it could sit.

The Professor said the committee had “no goodwill from government and GFA” and although they once met with then Minister of Youth and Sports, Kofi Humado their request for the minister to “take us and introduce us to the people we should be working with at the Ministry of Finance” was not granted.

In the words of the Chairman, the oversight committee was “still born” and poisoned the death”

Ghana since 2012, has participated in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, Africa U-17 Junior Championships, the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Budgets and provision for facilities which should have passed through the committee to government was therefore sidestepped. This forces government to deal directly with the GFA, a practice FIFA tends to discourage.

Due to the collapse of the committee government had no proper access to the GFA.

Frustrated by the politics, the committee composed of ‘busy professionals’, sat back and allowed the FA to run the show until a disastrous campaign brought it to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.  Story by Ghana||Edwin Appiah|[email protected]

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