The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide, has denied the ministry’s alleged involvement in any visa deal for some supposed journalists for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, and has promised a full-scale investigation would be launched into the issue.
His denial comes in the wake of media reports about a visa racketeering scandal that has linked the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) and the National Sports Authority (NSA) for allegedly facilitating visas for some 73 individuals and charging them between GH¢15,000 and GH¢22,000 to help them secure visas to Australia.
However, during an interview with the Graphic Sports yesterday, the deputy minister dismissed those claims and pointed out that his outfit was not involved in any form of visa acquisition for media personnel, hence those allegations were baseless.
“We did not sponsor journalists, we didn’t sponsor supporters, we didn’t sponsor anybody to the Commonwealth Games, we didn’t handle accreditation and for international tournaments, the ministry doesn’t handle accreditation,” he stated.
Although the website which initially broke the story has retracted and apologised, the deputy minister said a full-scale probe would be launched into the allegation to ascertain exactly what happened.
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According to the report, the deputy minister and the NSA boss, Robert Sarfo Mensah, were part of the contingent in Gold Coast, Australia, but the deputy minister who is currently in Ghana, said neither he nor the NSA boss were contacted by anybody to help secure visas for them.
Mr Hadzide further noted that his outfit had always resorted to the right channel whenever they had to support journalists to secure visas and wondered where the allegation was coming from, as they never got involved in visa acquisition for anybody.
“When we want to apply for journalists we go through the normal application system and the ministry will write a letter to the ministry of Foreign Affairs for cover letter,” he stated.
“Nobody came to us to do visas for them so we didn’t even write any letter for a journalist to travel to Australia,” he stated.