AFCON 2019: No NDC MP went to Egypt on Gov’t sponsorship - Nii Lante
Former Minister of Sports, Nii Lante Vandepuye, has disclosed that no National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament joined the team of Black Stars supporters who were sponsored by government to Egypt for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
He said, he cautioned his colleagues in the Minority against embarking on the trip when a letter was brought before the house to requesting that MPs who wanted to travel for the tournament to submit their names.
According to the legislator, he gave the advice because he foresaw the squandering of state funds.
Nii Lante who was mounting a spirited defense for the Minority side of the house said, the move to have MPs sent to Egypt was a ‘trap’.
“We had about 400 supporters in Egypt, 100 of them were from the National Supporters Union, the rest are political party supporters from the various constituencies. For each of them, the Office of the Chief of Staff approved $50 per day – let’s calculate and see if they were 300. With this, I can tell you there was not one NDC member. Party supporters have been going over the years and it is not right. This year too, party supporters went. The [Sports] Minister tried to set Parliament up. A letter was brought to parliament indicating that, all MPs who wanted to go to Cairo should put their names down; if they cant, they should nominate one person in their constituencies to represent them”, he said on The Big Issue on Saturday.
There have been public concerns about the colossal amount the Sports Ministry spent on the tournament that saw Ghana’s elimination at the Round of 16 stage by Tunisia.
“But, I told my leadership, that they shouldn’t go because a trap is being set up for you. People were going to spend money, you spend some so when they come back, you cannot criticize them. So none of our members on the minority side went. Some of them were anxious because within two days, we had close to 80 names. I told them not to go because it was a set up. So they backed out for only the members of the select committee on Youth, Sports and Culture went”, the MP for Odododiodio added.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah last week revealed that the government spent over $4.5 million on the Black Stars’ 2019 AFCON campaign.
The amount was out of the $6.3 million budgeted by the Ministry before the team started their AFCON journey.
The Minister said, in total, US$6,365,033.84 was budgeted for Ghana’s participation at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Out of this amount, US$4,564,352.00 was expended from the training tour up until the team exited the AFCON at the round of 16 stage.
The amount was not exhausted because of the team’s early exit, the Minister said.
Components and breakdown of Budget were given as follows;
The playing body
Members of Parliament’s Select Committee on Youth and Sports
Representatives of GHALCA
Representatives of Old Footballers
Some staff of the GFA
Some staff of the Ministry of Youth and Sports
Some member of the Ghana Supporters Union
A further breakdown of the expenditure is provided as follows:
Airfare – $924,168
Per diem, players – $187,050
Per diem, technical staff – $129, 600
Per diem, additional technical staff – $90,750
Winning bonus, players – $965, 405
Winning bonus, technical – $347,027
Winning bonus, additional technical staff – $177,000
Accommodation – $1,143,519
Feeding – $419,300
Match Tickets – $41,750
Medicals – $44,574
Visa Fees – $8,541
Internal Transportation -$43,092
Incidentals – $42,576