General News of Friday, 2 November 2018
Government has debunked allegations by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that President Akufo-Addo played a role in the bribery scandal that rocked the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
The NDC, in a statement signed by its National Organizer, Kofi Adams, following announcement by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) of lifetime ban of former president of the GFA, Kwesi Nyantakyi, called for an independent investigation of President Akufo-Addo as far as his involvement in the said scandal was concerned.
On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, FIFA banned Mr. Nyantakyi from all footballing activities for life and also imposed a fine of CHF 500,000 on him.
In a somewhat opportunistic manner, the NDC called on President Akufo-Addo to avail himself for independent investigations.
“FIFA’s decision to ban Mr. Nyantakyi after months of rigorous investigations raises serious questions about the involvement of President Akufo-Addo in the bribery scandal and also brings to the fore once again the need for the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to inform Ghanaians about the status of their investigations into this scandal which has tarnished the image of Ghanaians and Ghana,” according to the NDC.
“We urge President Akufo-Addo to open himself up for transparent and credible investigations by an independent body to clear his name in the said matter,” the NDC added.
But in response to the call made by the NDC, government, in a statement issued by the Information Ministry, wondered why the opposition party would create the impression that the president is dodging investigations into the matter when in actual fact he ordered the CID to probe Mr. Nyantakyi after he was informed about the scandal earlier this year.
The statement signed by Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, disclosed that “it was the President who caused criminal investigations to commence into this matter following his viewing of the “Number 12 video documentary.”
“Appalled by the excesses and possible acts of bribery and corruption at the GFA, government took steps leading to the dissolution of the Executive Committee and related structures of the FA and the formation of a Normalization Committee with the view to restoring dignity and public confidence in footballing in Ghana,” the statement underscored.
According to the statement, criminal investigations have been concluded by the Police CID and a docket was expected to be presented soon to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for advice.
The statement indicated that “it’s untrue claims made by the NDC that Mr. Nyantakyi is a close confidante of the President. The President has had a professional working relationship with the then president of the GFA, just as he has with several other persons occupying positions of public interest.”
It observed that the president has had a public service record spanning more than four decades with an unblemished reputation, saying “he has never been associated with matters of corruption in his entire life, private and public. It is not surprising that even the founder of the NDC has on several occasions, vouched for the incorruptibility of President Nana Akufo-Addo.”
Gov’t involved in ban
Meanwhile, government has indicated that it fully participated in getting FIFA to sanction Mr. Nyantakyi.
DAILY GUIDE understands that in a letter written to the Attorney General’s Office dated August 31, 2018, and signed by the Chairperson of the FIFA Investigatory Chamber, Maria Claudia Rojas, the Football governing body requested the government of Ghana to release information and documentation regarding Kwesi Nyantakyi in relation to his potential involvement in corruption and other illegal schemes.
On September 17, 2018, the Attorney General’s Office, in response to FIFA’s request, accordingly provided detailed information about Kwesi Nyantakyi’s history throughout his tenure as President of the GFA and the events that prompted his resignation following the release of a video by investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, in which he was found taking a bribe amidst claims of having the ability “to take over the country.”
It is understood that the response from the Attorney General’s Office to FIFA also included information on various allegations and concerns against Kwesi Nyantakyi for gaining enviable reputation of an overlord of a cabal who exploit the objects of the GFA for corruption and illegalities.