Highlights of Dzamefe Commission sittings

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante and Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Mr Justice Senyo Dzamefe, Chairman of the Commission

The Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry that looked into Ghana’s participation in the Brazil 2014 World Cup has exposed serious lapses in the handling of the activities of the senior national team, the Black Stars.

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Interesting scenes, including weeping, exposé about ‘coefficients’ and contradictions of amounts paid for services rendered were recorded during the four-month hearing.

The Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mr Justice Senyo Dzamefe, an Appeal Court Judge, was commissioned by President John Mahama to look into Ghana's participation in the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Other members of the commission were Mr Moses Foh-Amoaning, a legal practitioner and Mr Kofi Anokye Owusu-Darko, a sports enthusiast.


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The commission began its work on August 4, 2014 and completed its work on December 14, 2014.

Terms of reference

The commission's terms of reference included inquiring into matters about the preparation of the Black Stars for the tournament and possible lapses that caused the early exit of the team; the management of the Black Stars team and events in their camp in the tournament and Ghana's treatment of Ghanaian football fans who were sent by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to support the team.

The commission was also tasked to advise the government on the financing of activities of the senior national team and other national teams; enquire into all other matters of public interest in respect of the Black Stars participation in the tournament and to make recommendations to the government to ensure that as far as practicable, all the findings were implemented.

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Sittings

The commission spent four months probing the events leading to the Black Stars' participation through to their exit from the tournament.
In all, 85 witnesses appeared before the commission.

They included the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, the General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Emmanuel Gyimah, former Black Stars skippers, Stephen Appiah, Charles Kwabla Akonnor among other officials.

August 21: Elvis weeps at World Cup Commission of Inquiry 

Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, a former Minister of Sports could not hold his tears

It was an emotional spectacle to behold at the Media Centre of the Accra Sports Stadium when the former Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah wept uncontrollably in the course of his testimony before the Justice Dzamefe Commission.

The spontaneous tears, which resulted in a five-minute hold-up, were provoked by a seemingly harmless question from Justice Senyo Dzamefe in the heat of Mr Ankrah’s evidence regarding how he felt as a minister when the Black Stars players decided to boycott two training sessions in Brazil in protest over delayed appearance fees.

“I was devastated when I heard that the players failed to train...,” said the former minister, who got choked by his tears, prompting the chairman of the commission to step in and console him.

September 8: More tears at Black Stars Presidential Commission hearing 

Presidential Staffer and former Member of Parliament for Adentan, Kojo Adu Asare, climaxed his dramatic evidence on a tearful note at the Justice Dzamefe Commission.

Mr Asare was in the process of rounding off his over two-hour testimony in his capacity as the chairman of the Protocol and Supporters Welfare Sub-committee when he suddenly broke down in tears in similar fashion as the former Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.

September 10: Kenkey Boutique

In her earlier submission to the commission, Mercy Amina Sackey, also known as Kenkey Boutique, expressed the frustrations she and other two caterers – Monees and Ambar, had to go through while in Brazil. Mercy Amina Sackey, aka Kenkey Boutique

She claimed her employers never gave her money to buy foodstuffs to prepare food for about 540 supporters transported to Brazil.

The agreement was that she would offer two square meals a day for that number of supporters at $35 but along the line, they got angry and demanded three meals a day – morning, afternoon and evening. They had agreed on $35 for two square meals a day.

September 15 Agent took almost $20,000 for directions to supermarket

One of the facilitators of the contingent who handled Ghana’s participation at the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Lawrence Acheampong, told the Dzamefe Commission that over $19,800 was paid to an agent known as Al Continental for providing directions to a supermarket where foodstuffs were purchased to feed Ghanaian football fans in Brazil.

This confirmed the testimony of three caterers who had earlier said they had no control over how items were purchased for cooking for the supporters.

September 29: Litina chases Travel Matters over $200,000

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Litina Travel and Tours, Ernestina Abrokwa, introduced another dimension to the Black Stars’ World Cup campaign by demanding her share of the over $200,000 earned by Travel Matters from flying the team back home after the Brazil 2014 fiasco.

She said her investigations revealed that the Stars contingent of 71 players and officials joined the last chartered flight jointly hired by Litina and Travel Matters from Natal to Accra on June 29, 2014.

September 30: FA members shared $557,500 as appearance fee in Brazil

The General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Emmanuel Gyimah, told the Justice Dzamefe Commission that he 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.

October 1: Nyantakyi’s ‘co-efficient of seven’ for sharing appearance fee

The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, applied the co-efficient formula to explain how the $577,500 appearance fee was obtained and shared by management during the Black Stars Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign.

He said the number seven, which was stated in the Authority Note to represent management, was just a co-efficient used by the FA and did not necessarily represent the composition of the Black Stars Management Committee.

November 6: Dzamefe Commission directs GFA to pay $7.1m FIFA money to the government

Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, GFA Boss

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate Ghana’s abysmal performance at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup directed the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to pay the entire $7.1 million World Cup participation fee it received from FIFA into the accounts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS).

December 19: Allegations against member of commission

Two sports personalities, Ben Nunoo-Mensah and Kofi Manu, were invited to substantiate allegations made against a member of the commission, Mr Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, on an Accra-based radio station.

“The commission is formally extending invitation to the gentlemen to substantiate the allegations made within four days from Wednesday, December 17, 2014”, said a statement signed by the counsel for the commission, Mr Jonathan Acquah.

The statement categorically denied that Mr Anokye Owusu Darko had engaged in such acts as alleged by the two sports personalities on Happy FM which sought to question the integrity of Mr Anokye, as well as indict the work of the commission.