Sports News of Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Power failure at the Media Centre of the Accra Stadium Tuesday disrupted the Dzamefe Commission’s sitting, and eventually resulted in an unplanned adjournment to today after about an hour’s hold up.
The power outage, which had earlier forced a temporary recess by the commission, occurred at a time the Project Coordinator of the World Cup Secretariat, Fred Darko, was answering questions on the criteria used in selecting ambassadors and artistes for the project.
The situation so disorganised the commissioners and media men present who waited anxiously for the restoration of power but to no avail, raising questions about the condition of the Accra Stadium generator and the role of the National Sports Authority (NSA) in the commission’s work.
NSA’s explanation When contacted, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NSA, Hamid Issaka, said when his outfit called the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to ascertain the state of affairs, they were told that power supply to parts of Accra had been disrupted.
He explained that though the NSA had a stand-by generator which was in good condition at the time, it was only connected to the floodlights, scoreboard, dressing rooms, public address (PA) system, but not to the offices.
He said that was the reason why the generator could not power the Media Centre in the midst of the crisis to enable the commission to continue with proceedings.
He revealed that his outfit had initiated moves to facilitate the commission’s work, if such a misfortune recurred.
Mandate, remuneration During interrogation by the Senior State Attorney, Mr Jonathan Acquah, and the three commissioners, led by Justice Senyo Dzamefe, Mr Darko, Managing Director of Evolution International, a Marketing Communications Company based in Accra, told the commission that he was appointed by the then Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, to manage the World Cup Secretariat based on his expertise in event management.
He disclosed that his appointment took effect from February 2014 with a mandate to coordinate the activities of the Planing Committee and also liaise between the six sub-committees which were formed to implement the roadmap for the project.
When confronted with the question by Justice Dzamefe as to whether or not he was still an employee of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) as implied in his appointment letter, he admitted the fact and stated that he had prepared his report to be submitted to the MOYS at the expiration of his tenure on August 31, 2014.
“Technically, I’m still an employee of the ministry till August 31,” Mr Darko admitted.
A follow-up question by the commission chairman regarding whether Mr Darko wrote an acceptance letter to the MOYS, found him wanting.
He also disclosed that as a volunteer, just like the other committee members, he saw the appointment as an opportunity to explore new challenges and was entitled to a GH¢100 sitting allowance as others.
He was quick to add that the only exception was the two preliminary stakeholders meetings which attracted GH¢200 per person.
Mr Darko pointed out that the inaugural stakeholders meeting took place at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) on December 21, 2013, while the secretariat officially started work on April 1, 2014.
According to him, he had a number of voluntary staff at the secretariat who were also on allowance just like him.
He also informed the commission that he worked closely with an operational team, comprising the various committee heads and some selected individuals.
Ambassadors, artistes’ criteria When Moses Foh-Amoaning asked why some of the nation’s soccer heroes, who won the four Nations Cup trophies such as Osei Kofi, were not picked as World Cup ambassadors, Mr Darko explained that the focus was on the immediate past generation, which is why icons such as Abedi Pele, Tony Baffoe, Samuel Osei Kuffour, C.K. Ackunnor and Augustine Ahinful were chosen.
He revealed that 15 ambassadors, including three ladies - Grace Ashy, Jackie Appiah and Rebecca Acheampong (Becca) - were picked out of a host of names which came up during the selection process.
While emphasising that the ambassadors concept only came up when the need arose to step up the fundraising drive, Mr Darko also explained that the few ambassadors were chosen based on their availability and the limited time at the committee’s disposal, which did not allow it to spread its net wider.
In his usual humorous self, Justice Dzamefe, listed a number of Ghanaian actors and actresses who could have equally been considered as ambassadors, provoking a prolonged laughter among the audience.
Sitting continues today with Fred Darko continuing with his evidence.