SPEAKER OF Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho has entreated government to take immediate action against some officials of the National Sports Council (NSC) for their alleged involvement in widespread corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds during the 2011 All Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique.
A number of officials of the NSC, now National Sports Authority (NSA), had been indicted in a report in which they were cited for allegedly pocketing and misappropriating hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis.
The report, which was tabled in the House by the Minority Spokesperson on Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, indicted former Chief Executive of the National Sports Council Worlanyo Agra and others for culpable breach of procurement rules, corruption in the award of contracts, lack of contract supervision, failings of the Chef De Mission, poor information flow, non-utilization of funds and overpayment for catering services.
Embarrassing as the report was, the Information and Media Relations Minister, Mahama Ayariga, attempted to prevent Isaac Asiamah, who is also the MP for Atwima-Mponua, from commenting on it.
However, Speaker Adjaho responded saying, �Mr. Minister, I have looked at the report and I tell you that the report is damning. Without taking part in the debate, corruption is corruption. I thought that as a minister who is part of government, you should rather get the report and make sure the people cited are brought to book.�
Isaac Asiamah had earlier wanted the suspension of approval of the 2013 budgetary allocation of GH�53,872,871 for the Ministry of Youth and Sports until various allegations of corruption at the ministry were investigated.
�Mr. Speaker, corruption be what?� Isaac Asiamah quizzed rhetorically in pidgin language, lamenting that �there is so much corruption in that ministry and we need to let them tell us why about GH�54 million was approved for the ministry in 2012 and they overspent to the tune of GH�187 million.�
According to the Maputo report, power was so highly centralised in the hands of the NSC leadership that it was virtually impossible to check the abuses of procurement rules.
Worlanyo Agra, the report revealed, single-handedly awarded Royal Derby Tours a contract worth $620,000, to airlift over 200 athletes and officials to the Maputo Games.
He also awarded Kwashie Tailors a contract worth GH�66,000.00 to sew suits for 205 athletes and officials.
The report found there was a missing $32,100, overspending, and no documentary evidence to indicate that a company called Travel Matters supplied 13 return tickets to the NSC worth US$18,200.00 to enable the Ghana Athletics Association to travel to Maputo to take part in a competition.
According to the report, the tickets were ordered by one Erasmus Adokor on May 13, 2010 when the team was due to travel.
The report recommended that Erasmus Adorkor should be held liable for the sum of US$32,100, which Worlanyo Agra persuaded an accounts officer, Yiriwanu Sambo Amidu, at the Ministry of Youth and Sports to dole out, ostensibly as contribution to Ghana�s overall participation fee of US$150,000.00.
The report also unveiled that visa fees for entering Mozambique were waived for all participating countries, but because Team Ghana had not complied with the pre-accreditation requirements, Erasmus Adorkor engaged in unnecessary and needless expenditure of US$1,320.00 on visa fees, US$ 1,750.00 on feeding and another US$538.00 on feeding, all as a result of lack of accreditation.
The report further uncovered that the managing director of Trafix Catering Services, Madam Bella Ahu, was overpaid to the tune of GH�48,804.00.
According to the committee, Madam Ahu presented an invoice for feeding 200 athletes and officials for 20 days at the cost of GH�20.00 per day, totalling GH�80,000.00.
The invoice also included GH�231.20 for water plus 15% VAT of GH�12,034.00, all of which amounted to GH�92,265.88.
However, investigations indicated that Trafix actually fed only 148 athletes and officials in less than the 20 days agreed.
Minority spokesperson for Youth and Sports Isaac Asiamah said such incidence of corruption and misappropriation under the ministry certainly left much to be desired.
�As a House with the oversight responsibility over public purse, we need to be concerned about how taxpayers� monies are spent,� he stated.
However, commenting before his ministry�s 2013 budget was approved, the Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, told the House that government had already initiated action on the report.
According to him, all the individuals indicated in the report had been given up to the end of this month to respond to queries before action was taken.
Source: Awudu Mahama, D-Guide
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