Where are the $2m multi-purpose courts?

BY: Jasmine Arku

An amount of $2 million provided by mining giant, AngloGold Ashanti, for the construction of multi-purpose courts in selected areas in the country to aid sports development seems to have found itself somewhere else.

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The money was made available in late 2007 and the donors expected that with the cash provided before the start of the project, the facilities would be constructed in record time. If for nothing at all, the provision of the courts would have encouraged the sponsor to provide more support, and perhaps, also attract others to come on board to sponsor the NSA.

While there is evidence that the funds have been disbursed as contained in the 2014 Auditor-General’s report, the facilities cannot be sighted in the areas they were supposed to have been built — Enchi, Obuasi, Accra and Wa — as captured in the report.

The report also revealed that the rest of the money had been misapplied. It therefore, asked the NSA to take steps to recover the money and expend it on the purpose for which it was provided.

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To quote the report, “Our audit revealed that Anglogold Ashanti donated a total amount of GH¢3,090,380 to the NSA for the construction of multi-purpose courts at selected locations in the country. We noted however, that, Management misapplied GH¢380,000 of the amount contrary to Section 179(1) of the Financial Administration Regulations 2004, on Administrative expenses...”

Yesterday, the new NSA management, under Robert Sarfo Mensah, sought to clear the air and said the amount to be retrieved from the contractors was $138,000 and not the entire project sum.

He went on to reveal the steps being taken to retrieve the balance. He also said the facilities were there for all to see. (See story on back page of today’s edition.)

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Before his calm press conference, the NSA boss had earlier reacted angrily to the story published in the midweek edition, questioning its timing and what it sought to achieve. His concern was that the publication would create a bad image for the NSA, as well as affect the efforts being put in to secure sponsorship for the planned National Sports Festival.

Given the fanfare that surrounds the construction of such facilities, it is surprising that the NSA never said a word about the facilities, if, indeed, they are there for everyone to see and are being used.

If it is not too much asking, where are they? 

The NSA cannot blame anyone for the dent this incident has caused to its image as it is not easy for the media to be quiet on such an issue, given the concerns expressed over the non-availability of financial support or facilities for sports. Did his predecessors under whose supervision this happened, think of the image and integrity of the NSA

when they decided to misapply the cash meant for a specific project? Did they consider the impact on donor interest and concerns?

Indeed, the mess was not caused by Mr Sarfo Mensah’s administration and no one is blaming him for it. But, certainly, he does not expect everyone to be quiet and not ask questions just because a new management is in place.

It is heart-warming to know that the courts have been constructed, but, Mr Sarfo Mensah, every sports enthusiast would want to know where they are sited and whether they are usable.