Ghana’s Ministry of Youth and Sports was said to have raised GH¢4,509,635 from corporate entities and individuals to send supporters to the 2014 FIFA? World Cup in Brazil.
Out of the total figure, it expended GH¢4,483,262 which covered air tickets, accommodation and feeding of supporters, sitting allowances for officials of the World Cup planning committee, printing of souvenir items, media relations and advertisement, development and maintenance of a dedicated website and mobile application (Apps), organisation of Presidential Ball and purchase of World Cup match tickets.
The immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, made the disclosure yesterday when he appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry in Accra.
He indicated that an account was opened at Zenith Bank, into which monies raised through sponsorship and other fund-raising activities were paid, with the ministry’s chief director and his deputy, as well as the chief accountant and deputy, as the signatories to the account.
Breakdown of expenditure
Giving the breakdown of the expenditure, the ex-Sports Minister said a chunk of the money raised (GH¢1,953,96.52) was expended on accommodation and feeding, with printing of souvenirs costing it GH¢168,314.93.
Other expenditure included GH¢519,035 spent on World Cup tickets in Brazil; GH¢461,020 on publicity (placement of adverts and erection of billboards) ; GH¢188,665 spent on the Presidential Ball ahead of the team’s departure; GH¢22,857 on development of the website and Apps; GH¢16,700 on media relations.
Other expenditure included GH¢5,258.27 on medicals; GH¢2,820 on protocol; GH¢140,269 on transportation within Brazil; GH¢76,370 on entertainment; GH¢14,947 on stationery and consumables; GH¢1,740 on communication; GH¢22,000 on committee meetings and bank charges.
The former minister, who sat in the company of his counsel, Arcaie Danso, told the commission that 10 travel and tour operators applied to fly supporters to Brazil, out of which three firms — Travel Matters, African Origin and Sports Tourism, and Kenpong Travel and Tours — were shortlisted.
Subsequently, he said the three selected operators agreed to form a consortium and pre-finance the airlifting of supporters to be reimbursed later, but indicated that the operators failed to comply with the manifest, by including their own supporters onto the flight, leaving some of the government-sponsored supporters stranded at the airport in Brazil.
Responding to a question by the chairman of the commission, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, regarding what time the ministry paid the operators, the minister said those who airlifted supporters were paid during the tournament.
Strangers at supporters camp.
The minister disclosed that although the government sponsored 612 supporters to Brazil, it ended up hosting 696 but he could not explain how the figure swelled when the commissioner demanded explanations.
Mr Ankrah said because the extra supporters were Ghanaians he could not throw them out considering the potential danger in sending them away, so it was decided to accommodate and feed them as well. Black Stars per diem
Throwing more light on how the government and the Ghana Football Associationarrived at the appearance fee for players of the Black Stars, the minister revealed that it was the players who initially demanded to be paid $120,000, a proposal which the GFA brought to the attention of the ministry.
‘’However, considering the prevailing economic challenges and other factors, the GFA and the ministry agreed on an appearance fee of $100,000 for each player,’’ he said.
But Mr Afriyie Ankrah said after a Cabinet meeting, the government approved $82,500, which represented a 10 per cent increment over what the players received ($75,000) at the 2010 World Cup and this decision was communicated to the players during the Black Stars’ friendly game against Montenegro in March. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Responding to claims that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil were not involved in the arrangements, the minister refuted it categorically, saying he had involved the foreign ministry in every aspect of their deliberations, and added that the officer from the foreign ministry said to have made the allegation “perhaps, was not properly briefed”.
He denied also assertions that he failed to answer several calls placed to him by Ghana’s envoy to Brazil, Brig-Gen (retd) Wallace Gbedemah, to meet him for further discussions.
The ex-sports minister disclosed that ahead of the tournament, six sub-committees were formed with specific duties and with each committee member entitled to a sitting allowance which they duly drew.
World Cup ambassadors
Mr Afriyie Ankrah said after some difficulties in raising funds, the Ministry of Youth and Sports decided to introduce the World Cup ambassadors, whose fund-raising roles included facilitation in the collection of cheques from sponsors, among others.
He stated that although the ambassadors performed their roles for free, they were taken to Brazil as a gesture of appreciation, adding that each ambassador received $200 as per diem allowance.