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General News of Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Source: THE SUN

Agra Behind “Deaf’ Soccer Visa Deal?

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Details are enfolding about the faces and identities of the individuals and group of persons whose wishy-washy visa scandal rocked the nation’s sports a couple of months ago.

Even though the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Sports Council (NSC), Mr. Worlanyo K. Agra is not forthcoming with information as to whether he indeed, facilitated the acquisition of visas for the supposed “deaf’ but hearing footballers who were sent to Australia to represent Ghana in a friendly football match, interest in the matter continues to mount.

THE SUN has discovered that he looks to be the one who sent a request to the Australia High Commission in Ghana for their visas. Indeed documents in possession of the paper indicate that Mr. Agra signed and addressed a letter dated May 22, 2009 with reference number G.107/V.48 to the Consular Officer of the visa section at the Australian High Commission in Ghana, asking for his assistance in granting visas to the team to enable them honour the invitation. However he has consistently refused to confirm or deny whether or not he was the one who indeed signed the said letter, and whether a proper medical examination was conducted on the supposed “deaf’ but hearing footballers, before putting up the application for the visas.

In the said letter, Mr. Agra who is remembered for his involvement in the $45,000 scandal that rocked former Youth and Sports Minister, Mallam Issa, presented himself as though he was the substantive NSC CEO.

This was at a time he had barely spent two days at the office as the acting CEO. He okayed the visa deal which was facilitated by James Armah, a sports development officer at NSC that has now resulted in a situation where the country is currently indebted to the Australian Deaf Football Association to the tune of a whooping US $14, 789.00.

Not too long ago, Agra plunged the whole nation’s sports administration into chaos after he removed all chairmen and members of the various associations under NSC’s umbrella, only to replace them with people who are seen to be close to the ruling government.

Though Youth & Sports Minister, Rashid Pelpuo recently issued a caveat to dissolve the Disabled Sports Association when he took his turn at the Meet-the-Press, his directive seems to have fallen on deaf ears since the Acting CEO of NSC, has and continue to encourage the association’s executive to continue their operations.

It took the level-headedness of the Minister to calm the situation down following Agra’s high-handed decision and insisted on the need for the various associations to go to Congress to elect their executives.

Meanwhile the coach for the deaf team, Winfred Chartey Annan has been arrested over the same issue.

He, together with Mr. Armah, are alleged to have collected an amount of GHC 4,000 from each of the twelve “deaf’ but hearing persons who feigned deafness for the acquisition of Australia visas.

The NSC boss told THE SUN that the police are investigating the whole incident and for that matter would not like to comment on it.

That notwithstanding, he said “it is rather unfortunate that I came to office about two to three weeks and all these things started coming up.’

Meanwhile, the multi-billion dollar question which remains unanswered is whether or not the Sports Council did due diligence by doing a proper medical examination on each of the supposed “deaf’ footballers, before recruiting them since it has dented the image of the country’s sports internationally.

But Wolanyo Agra says the Association must be blamed since according to him, it is not his duty but that of the Association’s responsibility to conduct medical examinations.

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