Official In Conflict Of Interest

Drk2The Justice Senyo Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry into the Black Stars performance at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil yesterday established that Evolution International, a company owned by Mr. Fred Ebo Darko, project coordinator for the 2014 World Cup planning committee was behind the organization of some fan parks.

Dubbed “Brazil in Ghana” the fan park initiative was one of the main initiatives of the World Cup planning committee to roll out in all the 10 regional capitals for Ghanaian soccer enthusiasts who could not make it to the Mundial.

But testifying before the Commission yesterday, Mr. Darko stated that the committee failed to carry out the “Brazil in Ghana” project because they failed to get sponsorship for the project and therefore authorized private firms to handle it.

According to him, the committee learnt during their search for sponsorship that they faced competition from eight other companies for the fan park activation.

Of the eight, Evolution International was among the companies that offered the competition.

At this point, the Commission pointed out to him that the World Cup committee failed as a result of their act and queried why he engaged in an act that conflicts the committee’s work.

But Mr. Darko told the Commission that the former minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah was aware of his outfit’s dealing with the fan park activities and that he made his intentions known to all by word of mouth.

Ghana village

On why they failed to go ahead with the planned exhibition of Ghanaian wears at the Ghana village in Brazil, Mr. Darko said the committee failed to get exhibitors for the event.

He said they struggled to get exhibitors and those they contacted were not sure of the platform being offered so they declined to be part of it and after doing a cost benefit analysis they decided to abandon that project.

He told the Commission that the whole idea of the ‘Ghana in Brazil’ was to go and showcase Ghana in Brazil and that the project was not about revenue generation.

He revealed to the Commission that on June 13 he flew an amount of $216.452 on the orders of the former minister to Brazil which went into the payment of allowances of the ambassadors, production team on the ground in Brazil, medical team, payment for some match tickets among others.

The Commission was told that an amount of $ 17,200 was paid by the committee to the caterers for their services for the 15 days in addition to the $ 2000 paid by the former Minister earlier on.

Mr. Darko went back on earlier evidence, stating that the committee paid the 15 selected ambassadors $250 each per day for 15 days and not $200 as stated earlier.

Unibank

The Executive Director of uniBank, Owusu Ansah Aweie also revealed to the Commission that, the players, technical and management teams were not obliged to use master cards provided by the bank.

That, however, he stressed would have avoided the situation where cash was flown from Ghana to Brazil.

It emerged from Ansah Aweie’s testimony that the provision of the master cards was not part of a three-year agreement the bank signed with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and went ahead to debunk claims that the cards were ineffective, explaining that, ‘except for technical reasons, all 44 cards provided to the team and officials must work effectively.’

He admitted playing a partnering role in the organization of the Stars’ farewell match which the bank coughed out GH¢ 10,000 to Primeval Consult for name tags.

Narrow escape

Yesterday’s sitting saw a radio presenter from Hello FM narrowly escaping the wrath of the Commission following in his invitation to respond to unsavoury comments made about the Commission.

Samuel Joachim Bokeem was let off the hook by Justice Senyo-Dzamefe after constant pleas from his counsel and the solidarity shown by journalists present in the auditorium.

Bokeem’s attempt to justify his position attracted the fury of the panel with the chairman at one point urging him to continue until his (Bokeem) counsel intervened, telling the Commission that ‘My Lord, we have not come to explain or justify the action. We have come to apologise,’ to which Justice Djamefe requested for an official letter apologizing for the act.

Obviously humbled by events, the presenter apologized to the Commission.

“I apologize for all the comments I made against the Commission. I would be more responsible with my comments henceforth. I have learnt a lot and it has changed my line of thinking entirely since I appeared before the Commission. I would be a good ambassador for the commission,” he added.

He advised journalists to be conscious of the comments they make on air as the Commission does not intend to hurt anyone in the performance of it duties.

Travel Matters

Taking his turn at the sitting for the first time, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Travel Matters, Ivan Bruce Cudjoe, one of the three agents selected by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) to airlift supporters to Brazil told the Commission pre-financing events of that nature was a normal procedure for agents.

He will continue his evidence on the next adjourning date, Monday, September 1 together with the other travel and tour agents as well as chairmen of the six World Cup committees.

By  Raymond Ackumey  and Michael D. Abayateye 

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