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Sports Features of Monday, 29 September 2014

Source: The Catalyst Newspaper

How Afriyie Ankrah’s Kindness Has Led To A Stab ....

... In His Back From A Beneficiary Widow!

The month was January 2014. The Minister was informed by his secretary that one Mrs. Quarshigah wanted to see him. Even on a less busy day, the Minister had an average of 50 people who came to see him every working day! Though the queue of people scheduled to meet the Minister was very long, he asked his Secretary to let the woman in.

After the introduction of herself as the widow of the former Minister for Agriculture under President Kufuor’s administration (the late Hon. Courage Quarshigah), the Minister in his characteristic hospitable fashion asked her to feel at home.

She spoke about what she heard about the World Cup 2014 in Brazil and how supporters could be catered for, and pleaded with the Minister to assist her get a slice of that job, saying she heard about the Minister as a Christian and very kind, and that he should put political considerations aside, and help her, “so as to put food on the table of a poor widow”. She was almost at the point of tears in front of the Minister’s office. Out of compassion, the Minister recommended her to the Sub-committee that vetted the caterers, for consideration. She qualified, and was given the job, in addition to two others.

Mrs. Quarshigah presented a proposal to provide food for $68, which covered breakfast, lunch and supper.

Contrary to the original plan to give them money ahead to purchase items to cook for supporters for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the catering team was asked to provide brunch, and dinner for the negotiated price of $35 per supporter daily.

She went on to Brazil, all expenses paid for her and three-member staff – airfare of US$3,000 each in addition to accommodation, ground transportation, feeding, etc. for fifteen days. These extra-expenses alone are projected to cost a total of $15,000 for each service provider. Mrs. Quarshigah’s projected profit after the World Cup was US$19,200 for just two weeks of providing catering services. What a lucrative job she had, as many caterers, some, arguably, more competent and experienced would have praised their God for days, for the opportunity to be taken to Brazil, and to have been given the international contract to provide such a service.

The reason the caterers did a fantastic job, and cooked very good meals for the enjoyment of the supporters in Brazil was that they were provided with all the ingredients to cook the meals.

They did not need to go round looking for ingredients and food items as they were sourced in abundance for caterers to use.

Except for the first day when they arrived late owing to flight difficulties, the caterers accompanied the committee members on the ground with one or more of their staff each time they went to the supermarket to buy stock.

The purchases from the supermarket were borne out of the difficulties in transferring cash in Brazil. When more Committee members came with additional cash, it became easier to buy more ingredients for cooking. Mrs. Quarshigah, like her other two colleague caterers, is asking for more money after receiving a whopping $19,200 as benefit, putting the former Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah in bad light. This is making many wonder if her behaviour is borne out of greed, thinking the World Cup was an opportunity to amass wealth overnight or that she thinks she genuinely deserves an additional amount of money for the two weeks work she did in Brazil, especially when she claimed she did the work for Mother Ghana.

Prominent business people spent over 6 months working an average of 10 hours daily on the world cup as committee members. Some of them did not make a farthing! Beyond the paltry sitting allowance of GHC100 they did not earn any other money for the number of man hours they have invested for half a year.

This is the reward of a kind Minister who wanted to help all Ghanaians without recourse to their political leanings, creed or any other label.