Expenditure for AFCON 2019: Asiamah provokes more questions than answers
The Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Isaac Asiamah appeared in parliament on Wednesday to present an expenditure statement of Ghana’s preparation and participation in the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt.
First and foremost, did the honourable member tell the truth when he stated in parliament that the budget for the tournament was $6.3m?
The cost incurred on the team was $4.5m. The balance of $1.6m would be returned to the chest. By simple logic if the state incurred $4.5m on the Black Stars for 3 games only, how could $1.7m cover the rest of the costs if the Black Stars had progressed through the 1/16th stage, 1/4 finals, semi-finals and the finals?
Bonuses alone would have cost the state more than $2m plus additional costs on perdiem, feeding, accommodation, internal transport, medicals and incidentals.
On this ocassion, the Minister suppressed the truth and indulged in falsehood.
The Minister undoubtedly insulted the intelligence of Ghanaians with that wishy-washy presentation.
He thought we would just swallow whatever he presented hook line and sinker.
Mr Minister, do not take the Ghanaian for granted. We are now awake to all the tricks and planks of politicians.
Like the puzzle of the budget, the purported statement of accounts generated more questions than answers after the presentation.
This is the first AFCON in many years that Ghanaians didn’t have the benefit of knowledge of the budget before the tournament.
The Minister didn't see anything wrong with that.
As a former ranking member, he came across as a man of principles but as a Minister, he’s behaving otherwise.
We are entitled to know the budget before the tournament as of right as citizens.
Unlike a press conference, there was no opportunity to ask questions and seek clarity for the meaningless set of figures presented to parliament.
For instance, the figure of $924,000 presented as the cost of airfare for the players and officials was vague. It didn’t show the number of heads covered and the cost per head.
The Minister didn’t provide any clue as to points of departure and destination for Members of the delegation.
Suffice it to say that we need more information to understand the cost incurred on airfares.
Casually the cost doesn’t make sense compared to costs for similar expenditures in the past by the Black Stars for longer journeys.
Another nebulous and frugality for an expenditure item was the cost incurred on accommodation.
Ghana’s taxpayers bore the cost of $1.1m to accommodate players and officials for AFCON2019. It's unreasonable.
CAF provides accommodation for 23 players and 7 officials. Are we saying that the cost of accommodation for the extra members of delegation cost this much? Walahi it’s not possible.
Even if we add the cost of accommodation for the 3-week camping in UAE we need more convincing to believe that such a huge cost was incurred for accommodation.
How many people were sent to the UAE for camping?
Per diem for the players and officials was $406,000. Each member of the delegation was paid $100 for a maximum of 40 days. How many people were paid perdiem for how many days for us to get a sum total of $406,000
The Minister in his statement said the amounts were spent on the Black Stars, GHALCA, GFA staff, Parliamentarians, Journalists, etc. why should the taxpayer be burdened with such reckless expenditures?
For the GFA, we are aware that the GFA itself bore the cost of sending its staff to Egypt for the tournament.
All GFA staff who travelled to Egypt for the tournament were provided with air tickets paid for by the GFA and a perdiem of $3700.
Even the Deputy Attorney General Mr Godfred Dame benefited from the GFA sponsored package for its staff.
If it’s not to perpetuate corruption why would a Minister of state be sponsored by the GFA to go and watch just one match of the Black Stars in Egypt and be given $3700 as perdiem?
We want to know if the GFA-sponsored travellers were paid by the GFA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports at the same time for the same trip.
Mr Minister did you deliberately mislead parliament by stating that Ghana paid players and officials $1.5m as a winning bonus. We all know that Ghana won only one match.
By the expenditure incurred, each player received about $41,000 for winning one match against Guinea Bissau. Why should the state incur such a reckless and unreasonable expenditure?
If the government paid a qualification bonus for the one win too please tell the truth and stop lying.
The Minister’s presentation was silent on the expenditure incurred on supporters. How many supporters were airlifted to Egypt for the tournament? How much was incurred on each supporter for accommodation, airfare, feeding, and tourism?
The Minister asked the purse holder to provide funds for excursions and merrymaking and fun-filled trips undertaken in Egypt by supporters.
Many supporters were booked to return to Ghana in August when the Black Stars team was long out of the competition.
Was that a prudent utilization of public funds?.
Somebody must be held responsible for that archaic prehistoric and bad exercise of discretion on financial management.
The Minister also failed to tell parliament how much the state incurred in playing 2 friendly matches. Were players paid appearance fees for the 2 games? Did Ghana receive any revenues from the games either as fees from organizers or sale of television or any rights from the games?
The Minister didn’t tell parliament how much was spent on the 3 scouts selected to help the coach.
Were they included in expenses on additional technical staff?
At least 5 pastors were sent to the tournament to pray for Ghana. We were desperately in need of a divine deliverance to annex a trophy that had eluded us for 37 years. Who paid for the cost of board and lodging for the men of God.
It was important but the honourable minister left parliament without any information on that
Ghana is suddenly becoming a mockery for frugal expenditures when our national sports teams participate in international tournaments. During tournaments, CAF and LOC provide food for 23 players and 7 officials. Did we spend such a gargantuan sum of $419,000 on feeding? Was it on humans alone or with ghosts? Most often, teams with oversized delegations will spend on extra members of the delegation. They may also blend tournament dishes with local dishes. But can that cost the poor taxpayer $406,000?
I don’t want to comment on this expenditure item without knowing the number of tickets purchased. How much was cost per ticket and who were tickets purchased for? Ghana played 4 matches at the Afcon tournament. Did we spend $10,000 to procure tickets for the team? That cannot be. We need more explanations for this.
CAF provides each team with a coach/bus and a saloon car. In some cases, a sedan will be provided for luggage. Wherefrom the cost incurred for internal transport? In Egypt or UAE. The Minister must explain why the taxpayer must bear the cost of providing additional cars/transportation for each ‘big man’ in Egypt. We learnt additional cars were hired for the Minister, Party officials, Management Committee members, and officials of the National Sports Authority. This was certainly not a prudent use of scarce public funds
I am not surprised that a nebulous expenditure head for incidentals was created for the AFCON. How were they going to take care of expenses on the large delegation of Pastors, Malams and spiritualists who thronged Egypt to secure us the long-awaited trophy? You remember Dr Kofi Amoah told the nation that Ghana had won the trophy spiritually. The Management of GFA and technical team members carried spiritualists to Egypt to perfect this “revelation” to them. How were are officials going to pay for services of pimps, companions and entertainers? The only conceivable expenditure head was one that cannot be explained hence the creation of the item called “INCIDENTALS”
What areas of the team's medical needs were satisfied? Were there leftovers for the medical stuff? Were they given to the doctors to send to their private clinics?
The Minister has presented, Parliamentarians have listened, politicians are playing with it but the discerning Ghanaian needs answers as to how our taxes were used.