Presidential Staffers May Have Benefited From World Cup Cash – Christopher Opoku

Ace sports journalist, Christopher Opoku, has revealed that some presidential staffers may have benefited from the large sums of money which were paid to the members of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) management committee during the 2014 world cup. He observed that the refusal of the GFA to submit a list of persons who benefited from the $577,500 paid to the GFA management committee is indicative that some persons are being protected. “It is clear that people benefited from that amount of money and not just members of the FA but members of government, it could even go as high up to the office of the chief of staff – you’ll never know,” he remarked.During the sittings of the Justice Dzamefe Commission which investigated Ghana’s participation in the 2014 world cup in Brazil, it emerged that the seven listed members on the GFA management committee were given an amount of $577,500 as honorarium. This means that each member received $82,500 but it was later discovered that two persons listed were not involved – one had been dead for about two years while the other had been out of the country for 18 months. However, the GFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi explained to the commission that the money was paid to all persons who played a part in the success of the Black Stars at the tournament. Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme which reviewed the major events which rocked Ghana in 2014, the ace sports journalist said Mr. Nyantakyi’s explanation for how the money was shared although “impressive,” “was an attempt to insult the intelligence of Ghanaians.” He questioned why despite the repeated request by the commission for the list of the beneficiaries, “no list has been produced to show who benefited from the money and as of now, nothing has happened.” Mr. Opoku however dismissed claims that he has a personal vendetta against the GFA following his exclusion from the World Cup preparation team.“There were circumstances which led to my resignation all because I wanted to be free… I genuinely love football but I speak my mind. I don’t get about what I will get or whatever I wouldn’t get so it has nothing to do with sour grapes. It has everything to do with the fact that things have gone wrong for far too long,” he clarified. In a related development, the Chief Executive Officer of Citi FM, Samuel Atta Mensah who was also a panel on the show said the payment of appearance and motivation fees must be critically reviewed. “I think it doesn’t have to be blanket remuneration; let’s look at people’s circumstances,” he suggested. He said the situation where players demand payment for their service to the national team is a worrying trend that must not be encouraged. He advised that any player who is called to play for the national team should consider the call up as motivation. “You are paid for your profession and not your call to national duty so your call to national duty – that call should be the motivation.” “In the first place, it gives you a platform to exhibit your talent so that you will be marketable to the football world out there which you ordinarily will not have. So they should be able to place value on that,” he stressed. Mr. Atta Mensah added that “when people are promised sums of money to the extent that they can blackmail the entire country because we are not able to advance the monies at the time we say we would, that is where I have a problem with. If I were in charge of the Ministry or whoever, I will just tell them to take a walk. That is what I was going to do!”