The Minister of Sports, has landed himself in trouble over a contract awarded to a company called, White Oak Limited to take care of Ghanaian football supporters who are currently in Egypt supporting the senior national team; Black Stars, at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The budget for the contract is not known, however, the Sport Minister; Isaac Asiamah, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima Mponua, insists in press statement, he has saved the country cost, but failed to mention the amount.
Interestingly, it is not clear, if the company; White Oak Limited, went through any competitive tender process ahead of its selection to take the supporters to Egypt.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports, however, described as false reports that President Akufo-Addo’s daughter; Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, was involved in the contract to airlift the Black Stars Supporters Union to Egypt, with allegations that she is bagging some cool US$2,400,000.
A statement signed by the minister himself, Isaac Asiamah, also denied claims that Gyankroma was in charge of feeding and sheltering the 120 supporters, each of whose travel expenses for the whole AFCON season amounts to $20,000.
But the denial has rather sparked debates, as to how much money government was spending on the supporters in terms of transport, hotel, food and per diem. There are also questions, on how the supporters in Egypt, were selected.
Others have also demanded details of the sponsorship from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), including those being directly spent on the team to be made public.
Interestingly, the Minister; who was a Ranking Member on Sports, was the strongest voice on the 2014 Brazil World Cup debacle against Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah the then Minister of Sports, leading to the establishment of the Justice Dzamefe Commission by President John Mahama.
He had written “The Ministry of Youth and Sports has taken a serious note of publications on various social media platforms alleging that the daughter of H.E the President of the Republic, Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, was contracted to airlift Black Stars Supporters Union to Egypt and provide them with hostel and food for the period of the tournament”.
“The Ministry wishes to state in no uncertain terms that the publication is not only false but frivolous and a well-calculated attempt to soil the name of the family of H.E the President of the Republic”, the statement said.
It said, the ferrying of the supporters, the ministry’s officials and other key stakeholders were done by “a 5-member committee made up of staff of MOYS and a representative from the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, tasked by the sector Minister, Hon Kwame Asiamah, with the responsibility of ensuring the successful organisation of Ghana’s supporters and other officials to support the Black Stars in the country’s quest to win our 5th AFCON Cup.”
The ministry claimed that, “in order to save cost, protect the public purse and ensure that there is value for money”, it handed “All arrangements of accommodation and internal transportation were done by the Ghana Embassy in Egypt in conjunction with the Project Committee of the MOYS”.
The ministry added that: “All flight arrangements were contracted to the White Oak Limited, a reputable agency with an important experience in the travel and tour business. Therefore, the reported sum of money alleged to have been amassed by the daughter of H.E the President is totally unfounded, mischievous and a figment of their own imaginations”.