By Frederick E. Aggrey
Parliament has, in the interest of Ghanaians, set up a committee to investigate the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and its President, Kwesi Nyantakyi over the Anas investigative video. The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, gave the orders, pursuant to Article 109, which empowers Parliament to make laws to regulate professional, trade and organisations, subject to clause 1 and 2.
Article 109 enjoins professional, trade and related organisations to conduct their businesses on democratic lines. The Speaker was of the view that an organisation, which is entangled in such monumental corruption, cannot be seen to be conducting itself on democratic lines.
To him, therefore, Parliament is entitled to look into the matter and come to conclusion, one way or the other. He indicated further that, “we are all in an era where we all agree that we are fighting corruption, and that Parliament should be the institution that is most interested, in view of its representative body of the entire people of Ghana.”
He indicated further that no body, institution or association can assume immunity from Parliamentary investigation. He pleaded: “We form a special committee involving both sides of the House, so that we know which recommendations to make.”
The Member for Sefwi Bodi and member of the Privileges Committee, Sampson Ahi, earlier brought the attention of the House to the embarrassment that the exposé has brought on Ghana. He called on the House to constitute a committee to investigate the entire activities of the GFA and the entire ‘Anas video’.
The Member for Adansi Asokwa Constituency, K. T. Hammond, on his part, indicated that the notion that the GFA is an autonomous body, and for that matter not accountable to anyone, must be rejected. He explained that due to the fact that they are sponsored with state money, they are accountable to the people of Ghana.
He added that the House, therefore, is interested in the way the GFA is run, and that though the President has referred the matter to the Criminals Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, after watching the video, they all realised that there is more to investigate than what the President sent to the CID
He, therefore, called on the House to ask the President of the GFA, Kwesi Nyantakyi, to resign, in order to allow investigations to be carried smoothly, without interference and tampering of evidence.
Making reference to the infamous Brazil World Cup saga, he said Kwesi Nyantakyi had brought the image of Ghana into disrepute, and must face the consequences.
On his part, the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, agreed with earlier calls for a committee to investigate the saga, per article 109 of the constitution.
He also agreed that once state monies were used to sponsor the GFA, it must be accountable. He added that the GFA should account to the nation how it used the monies spent on them by the state.
He called on the GFA to render proper accounts, since it owes Ghana that responsibility. The House is yet to agree on the number and membership of the committee.
Hearts is mad
Meanwhile, the GNA reports that Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club has expressed concern over the unauthorised use of imposters posing as club officials in the Anas exposé aired in Accra on Wednesday 6th June, 2018, at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Tiger Eye PI, an investigative outfit led by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has, through a recorded video, uncovered massive rot and fraudulent activities in the Ghana Premier League involving clubs, officials and management members caught on camera taking bribes to sway outcomes of football matches in favour of Accra Hearts of Oak in some matches.
A release copied to GNA Sports, signed by Accra Hearts of Oak Chief Executive Officer Mr Mark Noonan, noted that the club was pleased and not surprised that no official of the club was implicated in the video, but expressed concern about usage of the club’s name to achieve a purpose.
“We are deeply disturbed that Accra Hearts of Oak SC was used by actors planted by the production company to serve their purpose, and this unauthorised use of imposters posing as club officials is not something we would ever condone, and we strongly condemn it.”
According to the release, the club has a policy of zero-tolerance in their club’s code of ethics, which all employees, players and coaches sign before joining the Phobia family.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any sort of bribery or match manipulation, anyone violating this policy would have their contract immediately terminated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Mr Noonan further noted that the club strongly believes in due process, and hoped that those who have been accused have the opportunity to defend themselves without prejudice.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has also issued a statement in connection with the scandal. The following is the full statement.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA)’s attention has been drawn to the airing of a documentary by Tiger Eye PI alleging acts of corruption by some match officials and senior officials of the federation.
The GFA was not provided with an opportunity to watch the premiering of the documentary as it was neither provided with an advanced copy of the said documentary nor furnished with tickets by Tiger Eye PI to watch the airing.
Though the GFA did not commission Tiger Eye PI to undertake this exercise and have not been provided with the opportunity of watching the documentary, we view the allegations circulating in the media very seriously and would wish to take immediate steps to address them.
To this end we believe it’s only fair and proper that Tiger Eye furnishes us with the said documentary and hereby request Tiger Eye as a matter of urgency to furnish us with all the recorded material on this documentary to enable us forward it to the appropriate quarters for further investigations.
The GFA wishes to emphasise that it is an association incorporated under the laws of Ghana and as such governed by the laws of Ghana as well as its own Rules and Regulations. It is also affiliated to CAF and FIFA
The GFA wishes to place on record that, there will be no attempt of a cover-up or shield any of our members caught in alleged acts of corruption.
The GFA wishes to assure all that as an institution it does not condone any manner of corrupt practices.
We wish to put on record that eight months ago, we got evidence of some external influences seeking to manipulate matches in our various competitions.
As soon as it became clear to us that we were facing the possibility of some external influences seeking to destroy the sanctity of the game in Ghana, we wrote to FIFA seeking assistance to help combat this menace.
The action we took was in furtherance of the GFA’s desire to fight against match manipulation and maintain the integrity of our game and federation.
We received a full FIFA response few days later, with an action plan on how we can fight the menace of match manipulation through a roadmap for the implementation of the national integrity initiative.
We are still working with FIFA Integrity Department to find the appropriate dates for the action to help educate our members on the dangers of this menace.
The GFA will subsequently be undertaking a holistic review and continue with our reforms geared towards the enhancement of its operations in dealing with alleged acts of corruption in the game.
We urge the football fraternity to remain calm and provide us with all the support we need as we bid to restore confidence and trust in our beautiful game.