GFA’s Kofi Manu leaks ‘unofficial’ position on govt White Paper

The Ghana Football Association is yet to officially communicate its position on the government’s release of a White Paper last week, but Kofi Manu’s appearance on Joy Sports Track was significant.

In the days since the Attorney General briefed the press about the government’s position on the 2014 World Cup Commission of Inquiry, the GFA official has been “educating the public on the flaws of the Commission and the White Paper”, as he told the show on Monday.

Manu, popularly called Blue Boy, is widely regarded as one of the best men the GFA has in terms of legalese and so his methodical appearances in the media is seen as a charm offensive by the football governing body.

Hours after the White Paper was released, the GFA announced a scheduled press conference to react to its findings, only to cancel at the last minute.

Monday’s appearance on Joy FM by the administrator lasted just under an hour. But in that time, his views gave a picture of what the FA’s position on the matter is.

Manu laid out why he felt the recommendations from the White Paper had gaping holes, in addition to calling the document’s constitional existence into question.

The vice chairman of the FA’s Club Licensing Board was speaking to show host Gary Al-Smith.

‘Too many inconsistencies’
Highlights of Manu’s presentation included his attempt to punch holes in the Dzamefe Commission’s report recommendation which wants certain FA members banned from holding positions in the various national teams.

According to a government White Paper released last Thursday, the 400-paged Dzamefe Commision report included a recommendation that current Black Stars Management Committee chairman George Afriyie, GFA Executive Committee member Felix Ansong and GFA General Secretary Emmanuel Gyimah (pictured below, left) have been ordered to stay away from any national team in future.

In response to that recommendation, the White Paper directs in Section 3.13 that:

“…Government directs that the three persons [Afriyie, Gyimah and Ansong] should, in future, not be allowed to work with any of the national team.”

This follows the trio’s refusal to disclose – according to the Dzamefe Commission’s report cited by the White Paper – the amounts given them as appearance fees during the World Cup when called to give testimony.

But Manu says there is no basis for asking the trio to stay away from the national teams.

“What crime have they committed?” he charged, going on to say that “you can only make such a decision if it is proven without doubt that the persons have committed a crime – and nothing like that has been shown.”

He went on: “In the White Paper, [the government] doesn’t establish a crime against [the three people], but recommends that they must be removed.”

“When does the future [as was referred to in the White Paper] start? George Afriyie is currently the chairman of the Black Stars management committee. The question is does he exhaust his term before the ‘future’ starts?”

More background
On September 30, last year, the General Secretary of the GFA, Emmanuel Gyimah, told the Dzamefe Commission that he had collected $557,500 as appearance fees on behalf of seven Black Stars Management Committee members in Brazil.

The amount, he said, was released to him by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), Mr Prosper Apasu, on the basis of an Authority Note signed by FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi on June 25, 2014.

However, he was unable to give specifics as to who got how much. It was based on this that when Kwesi Nyantakyi appeared on October 1, the infamous “co-efficient theory” was propounded by the FA boss.

‘Botched job’
Quoting from multiple documents while on the show on Monday, Manu also sought to establish facts supporting his claim that the authors of the White Paper simply rushed the process with the aim of maligning the FA.

“In bringing out a legal document, lawyers will tell you that you must read through several times and check whether they are loopholes you opponent might use against you. So what are they talking about?”

The Ghana Football Association is yet to officially comment on the recommendations from the White Paper or the Commission of Inquiry, which included looking into the FA president’s alleged financial misappropriation in various Black Stars matters.

This view is consistent with long-held fears from the FA that the Commission’s work was expected to provide the launch pad for a major attack on the GFA boss with the aim of leading to his eventual resignation or sacking.

Kofi Manu also pointed out that per the consitution, government’s release of the White Paper was not done properly, rendering the action illegal to begin with.

“Per Article 23 of Ghana’s Constitution, it is clear that the they goofed,” he said, and then went on to read Article 280:3:

‘The President shall, subject to clause four of this article cause to be published the report of a Commission of Inquiry together with the White Paper on it within six months after the date of the submission of the report by the commission’.

Manu intoned: “The fact that they published a White Paper without a publication of the report itself is baffling. You don’t do that.”

The constitution also instructs that if for some reason the report of the Commission cannot be published, the President should have issued a statement to that effect, giving clear reasons.

Known critic
Kofi Manu is a popular critic of the entire 2014 Presidential Commission of Inquiry and he has never been shy of subtly or – especially after the Commission finished its work – publicly rubbishing the terms of reference from which the body drew its mandate.

Also a director of operations of Premier League side Medeama, Manu’s attacks were hard enough to have warranted a subpoena from the Commission last December.

Manu had, on December 19, alleged that the very make-up of the Commission was designed to unseat the FA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi. He had also alleged that Kofi Anokye Darko, one of the members of the Commission, was part of a group that was had wanted Nyantakyi out since 2009.

Manu were also alleged to have stated that Mr Anokye was among the conspirators, who through a grand design, sought to unsettle the various sports associations under the then National Sports Council.

But after making these claims and being subpoenaed, Manu quickly issued an apology.

Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith & Benedict: @KwesiBenedict

Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Benedict Owusu & Gary Al-Smith

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