Sports News of Monday, 13 September 2010
Source: The Enquirer
The attempt by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to put stoppers on the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) from investigating the association is likely to hit a snag, as the SFO has laced its boots to face the GFA.
The Executive Director of the SFO, Mr. Kwaku Mortey Akpadzi, says that the GFA is just using the court system to buy time and that would simply not work. “The law on SFO has changed and it looks like those who advised the GFA are not aware that things have really changed,” he said.
Mr. Akpadzi, who was answering to queries fired by the Enquirer newspaper on the position of the SFO on the current application filed by an executive member of the GFA from investigating the association, said that the SFO is now an Economic and Organized Crime Office.
“We are using ACT 804 and that mandates the SFO to investigate any individual or organization, be it private or public, for economic and organized crime,” he told the Enquirer. Mr. George Afriyie, the GFA executive member, last Thursday filed an application at the Fast Track High Court’s order to prohibit the SFO from investigating the GFA.
The SFO made a request to the GFA to appear before it in connection with the Glo sponsorship of the Premier League. Mr. Afriyie, in a statement, is also seeking an order of injunction restraining the SFO from any further interference under the guise of investigating into “private business affairs of the GFA.”
But Mr. Akpadzi told The Enquirer that GFA has gotten everything wrong and that the SFO would deal with the investigations with all seriousness. He said the moves to frustrate the SFO in handling the matter involving the GFA would not be taken lightly at all. “With the courts on vacation they think that they can use that to impede the SFO but that is never true because the laws are clear,” he said.
He told the Enquirer that with the new ACT, the SFO can investigate anybody at all on economic and organized crimes. “They are afraid to account to Ghanaians but trust me the law is on the side of the SFO to deal with the matter without any fear,” he said. Mr. Akpadzi said that the SFO is not bothered a bit with ugly noises that are going on with the court application.
Mr. Afriyie, in his statement, contends that the GFA is a private voluntary association established by virtue of its rules of association and that all its members are private individual persons or entities.
According to him, the SFO was established under ACT 446 to investigate offences involving serious financial or economic loss to the state, state organisations or other institutions in which the state has financial interest.
He contends that the SFO overstepped its bounds by the invitation of the GFA president to appear before it with documents relating to the GFA/Globacom Sponsorship contract deal for the Ghana Professional League.“Management of the funds provided to the GFA by private individuals, persons or entities involved no financial or economic loss to the state or any state organization or other institution in which the state has financial interest for which reasons it does not fall under the ambit of the SFO,” he said.
Mr. Afriyie avers that the only instance in which the GFA manages funds in which the state has interest arises when in carrying out its objectives the GFA is tasked with the responsibility of managing the national teams of the Republic of Ghana.