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General News of Thursday, 5 April 2001

Source: GNA

Jawula Fires back

Former GFA Chairman, Alhaji M. N. D. Jawula, says he is pleased that the Executive Council Committee, which scrutinised the audit report of the $450,000 CAF grant, did not establish any case of misappropriation against him.

Furthermore, he said, the committee's view that his administration did not exhibit proper financial judgement is a subjective one open to several interpretations. Questioning the basis for the committee's conclusion, Alhaji Jawula said it must be viewed against the rumours which preceded its work that the CAF grant had been "blown". When the issue of the CAF grant came up, there were screaming headlines that there had been some impropriety and that the money could not be accounted for.

Yet, when we presented the accounts, duly audited by a reputable firm, the objective of the hunt shifted significantly to a charge of lack of proper financial judgement, which I think is an admission of something, he intimated.

The former chairman was also intrigued by the curious silence of the committee on the fact that after the amount was cashed, it was actually invested at Cal Merchant Bank, a discretion which he said yielded a handsome return of over ?38 million in three months. Of even more significance to the former FA boss is the absence of the key point that the entire disbursement of the grant was pre-audited by internal auditors of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, implying that all monies authorised and disbursed were done with authority and professional guidance.

On the amounts used to entertain the CAF officials and other foreign dignitaries, who he said were guests of Ghana at the time, Alhaji said it was not clear whether the Committee was of the view that the monies were not used or that it was wrong to extend that Ghanaian hospitality to "our invited guests." He also maintained that the grant was actually meant for the LOC for the CAN 2000 but because CAF usually deals with the national FAs, they only used the GFA to play a supervisory role.

Though he would not say if he was going to challenge the recommendations, Alhaji Jawula stressed that he took consolation in the fact that in all its findings, nowhere did the committee show any evidence of misapplication of funds on his part, in spite of the clear objectives of some members of the Executive Council.

On his part, Mr Ade Coker expressed surprise and disgust at the charges by the committee against him when in most cases he acted on the instructions of his boss, Alhaji Jawula, reports Felix Abayateye. He described as ridiculous the recommendation that he should refund a difference of ?24 million to the GFA 'for no work done' by Alpha Consul, his travel agency, for pre-financing the Black Meteors trip to Cameroun.

Mr Coker explained that when FIFA ordered a replay of the Olympic qualifying match between Ghana and Cameroun in Yaounde, Alhaji Jawula requested him to pre-finance the trip to cover the cost of a chartered Ghana Airways plane at $48,000 and issuance of PTA at $15,484.

He said the transaction was negotiated directly between Alhaji Jawula and Mr Ralph Kuuche of Ghana Airways. According to Ade Coker, Alpha Consul, his travel agency, only came to the rescue of the GFA by paying for these at a total cost of$64,000 for which the GFA issued cedi cheques, post-dated for two-weeks, with the understanding that the exchange rate (cedi to dollar) would be so graduated as to take care of the fluctuations in the rate of the cedi to the dollar.

Ade Coker also denied ever supplying any souvenirs and organising hospitality for CAF officials for the committee to recommend that he be held jointly with Alhaji Jawula for the refund of ?23 million in this direction. He said the committee was right in its judgement that Alhaji Jawuala made the request and authorised payment, but pointed out that the only role played by his (Ade) company Acorn Forex Bureau, was to sell the dollar equivalent ($5,750) of the ?23 million on request, to the GFA for the payment of the souvenir/hospitality for the CAF officials.

"Therefore, how the money was spent should not be the business of Acorn Forex Bureau," Ade Coker contended. The former GFA Vice-Chairman also said he had no idea about an unspent $2,380 being the balance of per diem paid to the Black Meteors in Tripoli, Libya. He said if there was any such balance unspent, then that should be traced to the Assistant Secretary of the GFA Mr Julius Onyameama, who was the disbursing officer during the trip to Libya.

Even though Ade Coker admitted collecting both the imprest and per diem, totalling about $21,900, for the team in Libya, he said he handed over all the money to Mr Onyameama on arrival in Tripoli, and indeed, it was Mr Onyameama who disbursed it and would be the only person to account for any unspent balance. Mr Onyameama, however, could not be reached immediately for his comments.

On the recommendation that he should refund ?25 million being imprest for dinner at the Dynasty Restaurant, Mr Coker wondered whether it was being suggested that the dinner never took place. He held strongly that the dinner did take place and over 200 people were feted. "Is the committee saying the Dynasty Restaurant hosted this dinner for free?," Ade Coker querried.

He revealed that he paid to Dynasty Restaurant, a total amount of ?24.5 million with receipts duly issued to cover it, and wondered what the committee intended to achieve by ignoring the evidence provided at the sitting. Ade Coker expressed his profound innocence in all the charges levelled against him and believed the committee's findings and recommendations were misdirected.