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Football budgets are always inflated – Ephson

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General News of Friday, 13 February 2015

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Ben Ephson Starr Jnr.,

The Ministry of Sports always inflates the budget for football tournaments such as the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations, the Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper has revealed.

“The trend in quite a number of the expenses for football tournaments is to inflate it, perhaps double it or inflate it by 60 percent,” he said on his programme Ephson’s file on Friday February 13, 2015 on Starr 103.5FM.

“When you’re given the money, he [Minister] will return a bit to Government and it’s rare for people to return accountable imprest in Dollars and so once that is done, nobody asks for investigations,” Mr Ephson said. “…Are you aware that the Ghanaian Cabinet approved $9 million for the Black Stars – the whole cost – for the 2014 World Cup, but the original budget sent to Cabinet was double that amount?” Mr Ephson revealed.

According to him, the inflation of the budget for football tournaments is one of the trends at the Sports Ministry through which state funds are siphoned into private pockets under the guise of sports.

Mr Ephson’s revelations come on the heels of recent acerbic comments against Journalists by Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga over the sports Ministry’s budget for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mr Ayariga launched a scathing attack on Ghanaian Journalists saying they are asking “useless questions” regarding the budget used by the Government and his Ministry for tournament, which just ended in Equatorial Guinea.

Responding to a question from Adom FM morning show host Captain Smart about the budget, an infuriated Ayariga riposted: “It is very unfortunate that you choose that this is what you will discuss. I thought that at this stage, those who are interested in sports in Ghana would now be asking me questions about how to sustain excellence in sports in Ghana, how are you going to get infrastructure for the development of sports in Ghana, how are you going to manage these players so that the next tournament they will be able to perform exceedingly well and take the cup, how are you going to make sure that all other national teams do so well? Sadly you are asking me about…the money that was spent on food.”

“You are using valuable time to discuss useless matters, please, I think that this is very very regrettable and it will dampen the spirit of the boys who were trying to kill themselves only to come back and even the food that they ate, they will hear on radio that their minister is [answering questions] about the food that they ate. It’s sad it’s sad it’s sad,” he blurted.

He said: “If I decide to grant you an interview as a minister, I expect you to ask me useful questions…you want to take over the job of the Auditor? Are you the Auditor?”

Mr Ayariga Wednesday told Parliament that Ghana spent about $6 million on the tournament.

He said Government spent $4.774, 519.19 million dollars and Ghc3.242,580 million Ghana cedis which add up to $5.8 million.

The former Information Minister made this known on the floor of Parliament Wednesday, after he was authorised by the Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho to present a statement on the participation of the senior national football team in the tournament.

Ayariga explained that part of the amount went into the team’s camping in Spain as well as bonus payments.

The Sports Minister told the House that the government spent $932,740 and 3,243,580 Ghana cedis on the pre-tournament camping for the Black Stars.

For the three-week tournament 608,640 dollars was used for boarding, lodging and others for players and officials.

Ayariga also explained that 3.224, 139.20 dollars was spent on bonuses and honoraria for players, technical team and officials of the national team.

After presenting the breakdown to Parliament, numerous radio stations have been calling the Minister to seek clarifications on the figures but Mr Ayariga has met such calls with abrasion and aggression.

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