Today in history: Australia visa scandal - How GNPC boss, others were smuggled into list of officials
In the history of Ghana, there has been a couple of moments where the nation has been hit with incidents resulting in national shame.
One of such moments was when about 50 Ghanaian nationals were detained and deported by Australian officials during the Commonwealth Games of 2018 on charges of visa racketeering.
According to the Australian authorities, the action was taken when it was found out that the said persons “illegitimately posed as journalists, athletes, and officials.”
During a probe by the government into how all the drama unfolded, it was discovered that the names of some persons including Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Dr K.K Sarpong, and dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, were all submitted by the National Sports Authority during the visa application process.
Read the full article as first published by Mynews.com.gh below
Interesting revelations are emerging, more than one year after Ghana’s international embarrassment of visa racketeering that saw more than 50 nationals detained and deported from Australia at the time of the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast in 2018, MyNewsGh.com reports.
The debacle saw four state officials who were at the helm of the affairs of organizing and supervising Ghana’s campaign at the games suspended or sacked.
Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide who was then the Deputy Sports Minister and Chairman of the International Games Committee at the Ministry of Sports was suspended alongside the then Acting Director-General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robert Sarfo Mensah and Board Chairman of the NSA, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang; they were later cleared after an “investigation”.
Two other officials of the NSA, Christine Ashley and Husseini Akuetteh Addy were also “suspended for their alleged complicity in the scandal as the GOC leadership began investigations into circumstances that led to over 50 Ghanaians been detained and deported by the Australian immigration authorities for posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes and officials”, state-owned Graphic reported on April 6, 2018.
But, Husseini Akuetteh Addy would not succumb to the allegation of tampering with the accreditation system of the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) and subsequently making entries for individuals who were not supposed to be on the system and inserting names of persons who were neither athletes nor officials and capturing them as such.
MyNewsGh.com has intercepted Mr Husseini Akuetteh Addy’s October 16, 2018 response to the Disciplinary Sub-committee of the Ghana Olympic committee (GOC), via Mr Richard Akpokavie, Secretary-General of the GOC, accusing the president of the GOC, Ben Nunoo Mensah of giving him some names to be entered without recourse to the Chef de Mission.
Those names, according to his response included ‘Shatta Wale’ and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr K.K. Sarpong.
“I have also heard that the President of the GOC told the committee that he never gave any names to me for entry and that if he wanted to do so, he would have channeled the names through the Chef de Mission. I stand to be corrected but If what I heard was true then the President did not speak the truth because he did give me the following names to be entered and without recourse to the Chef de Mission (Charles Nii Armah Aryee – “Shatta Wale”, Kofi Koduah Sarpong, David Harper, Kwame Baah Nuaku and Azumah Nelson)”
It is unclear what the roles these persons would have been at the games, but MyNewsGh.com has confirmed that their visas were cancelled by the Australian Department of Home Affairs because they “would no longer participate in an accredited role at the games” on the advised by the Commonwealth Games Association.
Mr Akuetteh also wrote that the claim that the GOC had no role in securing accreditation and visas for media houses could not be true.
He said the President of the GOC, Ben Nunoo Mensah was being “economical with the truth” in that regard.
“I have also heard the claim by the President of the GOC that the Media Houses dealt directly with the organizers (GOLDOC). I stand to be corrected but if what I heard was true, then the GOC President was being economical with the truth. Is he saying that after the Media Houses have submitted their applications, the GOC was not required by the organizers to confirm those media houses before their applications are processed?”, he asked, giving evidence of cases where the organizer impressed on the GOC to confirm the authenticity of some media houses.
In his 10-point response to the GOC, Husseini Akuetteh Addy described the President of the GOC, Ben Nunoo Mensah as a “liar” who fabricated his suspension to make him “look bad before everyone and virtually pass judgement against me on the matter … I believe this was done deliberately to conceal the GOC’s involvement in the media accreditation process and for that matter the journalists saga”.
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