Following the revelation of widespread fraud, corruption and bribery in the administration of the country’s football by an investigative journalist, the government has cracked the whip and suspended all Ghana Football Association (GFA)-sanctioned activities while it takes steps to dissolve the association.
A statement signed by the Minister of Information, Dr Mustapha Abdul Hamid, and issued in Accra yesterday said “the government is shocked and outraged at the content of a recently aired video documentary which captures investigations conducted into football administration by the journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, titled:
“Number 12: When misconduct and greed become the norm”.
The video was shown to the public in Accra last Wednesday and yesterday
Corruption and bribery
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The statement said the documentary exposed the gross malfunctioning of the GFA, characterised by widespread fraud, corruption and bribery.
“As a result of the pervasive nature of the rot at the GFA, the government has decided to report the conduct of all officials of the GFA, together with that of the suspended acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Mr Robert Sarfo Mensah, to the police for further investigations and appropriate action,” it added.
It urged the police to take all the necessary and relevant measures to ensure that the content of the documentary was rapidly and thoroughly investigated.
“Having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top GFA officials, top NSA officials, match commissioners, football administrators and referees, the government has decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA dissolved,” the statement said.
It said the government would communicate its decisions to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and engage with them on those developments to chart a way forward for Ghana football.
It further said the government would see to it that the necessary reforms were urgently undertaken to sanitise football administration in the country.
About a month ago, speculation was rife across the country about an investigative video by Ghana’s internationally acclaimed investigative journalist, Anas, on the perceived corruption within the corridors of the GFA.
The rumour was, however, confirmed when Anas gave a hint that the video was ready and would be shown to the public on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Prior to the public viewing, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was among the privileged few to watch the video for the first time.
After the President had watched a footage of the video, he immediately reported to the Police CID to arrest the GFA President, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi.
Nyantakyi, who was out of the country at that time on an international assignment, was subsequently arrested on his return by the CID, interrogated and granted bail.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, has asked that all activities related to the GFA should be suspended until further notice.
In a related development, it emerged from Parliament yesterday that the House intended to constitute a special committee to investigate the alleged corrupt dealings involving Mr Nyantakyi and other officials of the GFA, as captured in the investigative video, writes Musah Yahaya Jafaru from Parliament.
The leadership of the House is yet to name the members of the committee from the Majority and the Minority sides of the House.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Michael Aaron Oquaye, gave the order for the formation of the committee following a request by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bodi, Mr Sampson Ahi.
Other MPs supported the call by Mr Ahi for a committee to investigate the matter.
The constitution of the committee has been deferred because the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had argued that the Speaker should admit a substantive motion before the committee could be formed.
Even when the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, stood up to move the motion, the Majority Leader disagreed.
Although the Speaker disagreed with the Majority Leader, the constitution of the committee was deferred.
The Number 12
The Anas's exposé, which was premiered in Accra last Wednesday, captured Mr Nyantakyi and other GFA officials allegedly receiving sums of money to influence some outcomes.
The video, which can easily pass as a blockbuster of which Hollywood would be envious, attracted hundreds of patrons who cheered, booed, laughed and screamed at the scenes.
The screening of the video had to be paused several times to cool the “tempers” of viewers who were visibly shocked at the ease with which Anas’s investigative team easily bribed referees, match commissioners, officials of the GFA, the National Sports Authority (NSA) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports with sums as low as GH¢300 to influence the showing of yellow and red cards, the award of penalties and engagement in visa deals.
The money paid to the officials ranged between GH¢300 and GH¢5,000.
Other forms of inducement to referees, match commissioners and officials included goats, sheep, cooking oil and rice.
Prof. Oquaye said so far as the events captured in the video were issues of national or public interest, Parliament could investigate that matter.
He said Article 109 of the 1992 Constitution provided that Parliament had the power to make laws to regulate professional, trade and business organisations.
"It is to see whether they are working democratically, so if fraud is alleged, then it cannot be democratic. For that matter, we are entitled to look into the matter and come to some conclusions, one way or another.
"We are in an era when we all agree to fight corruption and Parliament should be the authority that is most interested, in view of the fact that it is a representative body of the entire people of Ghana.
"Since nobody or institution can assume immunity from parliamentary investigation, I ask that we form a special committee to quickly look into the matter from both sides of the House. Then we will be able to know what recommendations we should make," he said.
In his request to the House to set up a special committee on Anas’s exposé, Mr Ahi said people were wondering why Mr Nyantakyi had not stepped aside to allow for investigations into the issue.
He said the GFA was a professional organisation and "the Constitution gives us the opportunity to regulate the conduct and also go into any matter that has to do with the GFA as a professional institution".
Since the alleged corruption was a national issue, he suggested that the House ask Mr Nyantakyi to step aside to allow independent investigations into the various allegations made against him.
Contributing, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Alhaji Muntaka and the MP for Adansi Asokwa, Mr K.T. Hammond, supported the call for investigations into the matter.
Alhaji Muntaka and Mr Hammond supported the suggestion for the GFA President to step aside for the investigations.
But Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the issue of stepping aside was a moral persuasion of which Mr Nyantakyi could avail himself.
However, he said, he had a difficulty with the issue of Parliament asking Mr Nyantakyi to step aside.
Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after the premiering of Number 12, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has officially written to the management of Tiger Eye PI for a copy of the video.
The Director-General of the CID, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mrs Maame Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that although the management of Tiger Eye PI had promised to give the CID a copy of the video after the premiere, the police had sent a letter making a formal request for a copy of the investigative piece.
She said when the police took delivery of the video, they would invite Mr Nyantakyi to continue with the investigations into the complaint lodged by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo against him.
She said together with Mr Nyantakyi the investigators would watch the video, during which clarifications and other issues would be discussed as part of the investigations.
On May 24, this year, President Nana Akufo-Addo reported Mr Nyantakyi to the police for investigations after he (the President) had watched portions of the investigative work by Anas.
Mr Nyantakyi was seen in the video allegedly using the names of the President and the Vice-President to extort millions of dollars from some supposed investors.
He was granted bail after two visits to the CID Headquarters, pending the premiering of the documentary.