‘Allegations against GTF unfounded’

Kwondo....Frederick Lartey Otu is carried by admirers after yesterday's press conference

Kwondo….Frederick Lartey Otu is carried by admirers after yesterday’s press conference

The Ghana Taekwondo Federation (GTF) has described as malicious and unfounded several allegations leveled against the Federation and its President, Frederick Lartey Otu and urged the public to disregard the claims.

Otu and some members of his executives were the target of a recent demonstration held by a section of taekwondo players, accusing him of over staying in office, willfully causing financial loss to the state, misappropriating Olympic Solidarity funds and causing divisions among the sport’s practitioners.

But at a press conference to respond to the allegations yesterday, an executive member of the Federation, Kennedy Anoba said the claims were baseless and calculated to soil the hard earned reputation of the members, especially the President whose only crime was to ensure the right things were done.

Dealing with the issues one after the other, Mr. Anoba, a legal practitioner said Mr. Otu took over the reins of the Federation on November 15, 2013 and is to serve for a term of four years after the previous administration headed by Sampson Annor-Quarshie called for an early congress because they wanted to bow out.

Annor-Quarshie and his deputy, Chris Essilfie exited with seven months left on their term, leaving the current President, Otu and the previous Secretary General, Patrick Johnson as the officers responsible for administration of the Federation.

This, perhaps, might have generated an ambiguity the demonstrators – referred to as non registered members of the Federation – have fed on, believing that the rest of the seven months of the previous administration was part of Otu’s term or could only hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

But that interpretation, according to Mr. Anoba, is a sin to the GTF’s constitution and offends the discipline of the sport practitioners dearly embrace.

“Under the GTF constitution, a national congress is the highest decision body and every time they converge to undertake elections, they do so to elect members for a fixed term of four years and nothing less.”

Flanked by Mr. Otu, Joshua Mensah, the National Sports Authority (NSA) representative, regional executives from about seven regions plus friends from other federations and players as well, Mr. Anoba noted that the early congress was to elect new members to the executive board and not as interim officers to fill the vacancy created.

Concerning the claim of causing financial loss, Mr. Anoba denied the claims that a sick player was sent to Morocco for the Olympic qualifiers, explaining that the said player was fit and ready to go by the time the team arrived in Morocco.

He said it was in the course of their training in Morocco that they realised she had fallen sick, explaining that the trip was financed by the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) which procured the tickets and the GTF, adding that the Sports Ministry and the NSA did not provide any financial assistance.

On the alleged misappropriation of Olympic Solidarity funds, the GTF Executive Member said the IOC training scholarship is given to athletes with Olympic prospects, with international exposure and the funds allocated are paid directly into the personal bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

“The GTF only provides information and authentication to the IOC through the GOC. The President only appends his signature to the agreements needed to access the scholarship. The GTF President does not have direct or indirect access to the money,’ he added.

Mr. Anoba said it was untrue there is disunity in the rank and file of the GTF, saying that the GTF under Lartey Otu has seen great unity and unprecedented development in the sport.

By Andrew Nortey

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