General News of Sunday, 13 July 2014
Lawyer Kwame Akufo has asked if President John Mahama would be hauled before the Commission of Enquiry set up to investigate the Black Stars preparation to the mundial in Brazil and their poor showing, which led to an early exit.
The Commission would also enquire into matters relating to technical and management of the team by the Ghana Football Authority (GFA) officials, as well as issues regarding how supporters were carted to the tournament by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Lawyer Akufo argued that because the president played a very active role in the Black Stars’ conduct and flouted the country’s banking laws to airlift $3 million to Brazil to settle the players’ appearance fees, would he also be summoned by the Commission? "No, that is not possible,” he said.
Contributing to Joy FM’s Newsfile analysis show on Saturday via phone, the learned man emphasized: “Monies have been advanced and arguments have been made that banking laws have been broken, will the Commission of Enquiry summon the president because he has been a critical actor in all the developments. Are they going to call him to appear before the Commission of Enquiry?”
Rubbishing the institution of the CoE, he said: “I believe that the Commission of Enquiry is completely misplaced. It’s been put there just to respond to emotions and the pain of a hurting nation,” he stated.
Adding that, “We are expending public resources in the wrong direction, and we will not receive anything.”
He mentioned there would be a collateral attack on the immunity of the GFA where the Commission constitutes judgment because it has the same powers as the High Court and, therefore, summoning them before it would mean the officials are on trial.
“That will amount to a collateral attack on the immunity of the GFA officials and clear contradiction of FIFA’s statute,” he said.
He explained that if the government gave monies to the GFA expecting a repayment when FIFA pays after participation, then that is a loan, and advised that; “If government wants its monies, it should send a demand notice.”
Thus, “I don’t see how a creditor can then begin to question the conduct of the Board of Directors of a Company because it has lent them money.”
“We cannot expend public resources to ask why the Black Stars did not play well; we cannot expend resources to find out why the Black Stars management team performed poorly.”
There is a growing perception that the government has the authority to investigate the GFA in respect of financial affairs.
But this perception, Lawyer Akufo noted, was motivated by the government’s advance of “our taxes to the GFA to run the Black Stars.”
“Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and others were responsible for these matters. It’s a political issue that must be addressed by their political superiors. We cannot put things behind,” he noted.
Maintaining that the political superiors could investigate this matter without the need for a Commission of Enquiry.
He further noted that because the people acted on behalf of the president, it would be difficult to justify the means.
Especially, when they appear before the Commission and make ambiguous statements. And because the statements may not be substantiated, would the Commission then be in the position to say “We don‘t have the key actors?” he asked.
Lawyer Kwame Akufo before joining the conversation asked on his Facebook wall that “Funds released to GFA for the World Cup, loan or gift?”
Kweku Baako’s take on the matter
But Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako said there ought to be an enquiry into public funds that were given to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the tournament on how it was used. “It’s a standard practice,” he said.
“Any enquiry, official or otherwise, is targeted at that because there is a public interest there,” Mr. Baako added.
He recalled that in 2006, the GFA was given the monies and submitted themselves to direct accountability but in 2010 and 2014, the monies were not given to the GFA, it was with the ministry and the officials are subject to public accountability.