Two staff of the National Sports Authority (NSA) have been suspended by the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) from holding themselves as officials of Ghana’s contingent at the ongoing Commonwealth Games after they were implicated in a visa scandal that has caused embarrassment to Ghanaian officials in Australia.
The duo, Christine Ashley and Husseini Akuetteh Addy, were the first casualties on an ongoing investigation to unmask officials who may have played in the part in the scandal which has overshadowed Ghana’s participation in the games.
The two officials were suspended for their alleged complicity in the scandal as the GOC leadership began investigations into circumstances that led to over 50 Ghanaians were detained and deported by the Australian immigration authorities for posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes and officials.
The Graphic Sports gathered that GOC president, Ben Nunoo Mensah, in a swift reaction ordered Ghana’s Chef de Mission, Mohammed Shanoon, to ensure the two officials cease to function as administrative staff and be sent back to Ghana in order not to interfere with the ongoing investigations.
This paper gathered that the two NSA personnel were seconded to the GOC to assist in their data entry for Ghana’s contingent.
According to reports, many of the Ghanaians detained and deported posed as journalists who had arrived in Australia to cover the Commonwealth Games, but upon screening the Australian Border Force were reportedly unconvinced about their reasons for travelling to the country or their claims of being journalists despite possessing genuine visas.
The report not only caused embarrassment and outrage among the Ghanaian officials, especially after the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the NSA both denied complicity in the scandal and pointed accusing fingers at the GOC for purportedly facilitating the visas for the fake journalists some of whose details were in the GOC’s system.
The Graphic Sports gathered that a furious GOC president, Ben Nunoo Mensah immediately launched an investigation into the issue following which Ms Ashley, General Secretary of the Ghana Volleyball Association and Mr Addy of the Ghana Weightlifting Association were implicated in the deal and reportedly admitted they committed some of the malpractices.
This pager gathered that preliminary investigations conducted by the GOC boss indicates that Mr Addy tampered with the accreditation system of the CGA and subsequently made entries for individuals who are not supposed to be on the system and inserted names of persons who were neither athletes nor officials and captured them as such.
It was further revealed that the two accused allegedly collaborated with five other officials to enter various persons into the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) accreditation system and subsequently secured visa notification letters and or non-validated passes for over 60 individuals who are neither athletes nor officials of Team Ghana.
Ironically, the suspension of the two NSA staff came on the heels of a hurriedly-arranged press briefing in Accra by the Director General of the NSA, Mr Robert Osafo Mensah, who denied the involvement of his organisation in the scandal.
Also, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide, denied his ministry played a role in the scandal and promised a full-scale investigation into the matter.