Ghana: A timeline of disgraceful sporting scandals swept under the carpet

first_imgIn the midmorning of Wednesday, hundreds lined up at the Sir Seretse Khama International in Gaborone, the international airport of Botswana, to welcome the nation’s proud contingent from the Commonwealth Games. The nation finished the Games at the 16th position overall, copping three gold, a silver and a bronze. The athletes spoke of dedication, belief and looked ahead to the next edition in Birmingham.At the same time in West Africa, the so-called Gateway to Africa is having a different sort of post mortem.   Ghana’s participation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games can best be described as an exercise in futility. One medal from the Games is worse than underwhelming, but it is consistent with the nation’s performances at multisport competitions in recent years. That consistency is reinforced by the negative press the country has managed to generate from these Games as a result of some 60 persons deported by Australian authorities for allegedly entering the country under false pretenses. From Maputo (2011) through Brazil (2014) to Gold Coast (2018), the country has gained an unenviable reputation for negative press at international competitions.  2001 – Mallam IssahSports minister Mallam Yussif Issah was sacked from his job by President John Agyekum Kufuor after $46,000, which was meant for Black Stars bonus payments, disappeared while travelling to Sudan. Issah was charged with stealing, found guilty by an Accra High Court, and sentenced to four years in prison. 2011 – Worlanyo AgraChief Executive Officer of the then National Sports Council, Agra was implicated in a report of a committee set up to investigate Ghana’s participation in that year’s All African Games in Maputo.  He was found to have single-handedly awarded Royal Derby Tours a contract worth $620,000 to airlift over 200 athletes and officials to the tournament. He also awarded Kwashie Tailors a contract worth GHS 66,000 to provide apparel for 205 athletes and officials. Trafix Catering Services was also awarded a contract to feed an undisclosed number of athletes and officials, for an undisclosed number of days, at an undisclosed price. The contractor presented an invoice for GHS 92,265.88 , which was paid without question. Agra was found to have violated several of the country’s procurement laws; but he was not punished. 2014 – Brazil World CupWhen players of the Black Stars threatened to boycott training on the eve of their group game against Portugal due to unpaid bonuses, the state found a private jet to ferry about $3.5 million in cash to the South American nation.Brazil’s largest TV network, O Globo, cut short a telenovela to broadcast live images of the plane’s landing and its subsequent convoy-assisted rush to the Ghana team’s camp. The Black Stars failed to make it past the group stage, leading to the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry, led by Justice Senyo Dzamefe, to probe the whole sordid affair. The Commission’s report, among others, fingered then sports minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and his deputy Joseph Yamin.  Afriyie Ankrah was simply removed from the Sports Ministry and housed as a staffer at the Presidency. Nobody was punished and none of the dozens of recommendations were followed, despite a huge public outcry.2016 – Sexual sleazeFIFA suspended the management committee chairman of the Black Princesses (Ghana’s national female U-20 side) Nanabeyin Eyison, and acting General Secretary of the Ghana FA, Isaac Addo, following a case of sexual harassment. The two were charged with attempting to harass a lady assigned to them during the balloting of the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in Papua New Guinea. No inquiry was done, and they’ve simply slipped back into working in football.2018 – Commonwealth Games 60 persons have been confirmed to have been involved in an impersonation scandal that has brought ridicule to Ghana as the country took part in the Commonwealth Games in Australia. President Akufo-Addo has suspended several high profile officials as investigations continue. But how far will it go?In a follow up to this piece, we ask if the President can be trusted to deal ruthlessly with culprits in this latest Aussie mess. Click here to read that.—last_img read more

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