Explain Matters To FIFA - Akwetey i
YOUTH AND SPORTS MINISTRY SHOULD EXPLAIN MATTERS TO FIFA- LAWYER BRIGHT
A private legal practitioner, Bright Akwetey is calling on the Ministry for
Youth and Sports to explain to world governing football body, FIFA why the
Ghana Football Association be investigated by the Economic and Organised
Crime Office (EOCO).
The EOCO Tuesday besieged the offices of the GFA with a court warrant and
took away nine Central Processing Units as well as files and other documents
belonging to the FA to facilitate investigations into the alleged breaches
of the country's laws.
The action has provoked widespread condemnation mainly from FA officials and
people sympathetic to the FA, while a good number of others have expressed
support for the action. But the EOCO is unperturbed. According to Mordey
Akpadie, head of the EOCO, their action is justified.
³We are a law enforcement agency. We work within the law. We don¹t negotiate
the law," he said.
He explained that the EOCO had since October 14, 2010 requested the FA to
provide documentations to assist with investigations but the FA has been
intransigent. Mr. Akpadie said his outfit is investigating monies government
has given the FA as well as reports of tax evasions.
He said EOCO has not accused anybody at the FA of corrupt practices but has
³information which suggests that there have been breaches of Ghana¹s laws,
tax laws,² he stressed. The action by the EOCO has left many people
wondering if FIFA would pull the strings on Ghana football, especially after
it (FIFA) had written to the government not long ago, not to interfere in
football matters. Commenting on the ensuing development, and whether Ghana
has incurred the wrath of FIFA on Xfm 95.1, a privately owned commercial
radio station in Accra, Bright Akwetey said the action by the EOCO should
not necessitate a ban from FIFA as the office is only investigating alleged
crime. He said the Minister should take the lead to explain matters to FIFA.
³Explain to FIFA that this office (EOCO), investigates only organised and
economic crime and this is the information that we have, so give them time
to find out². He opined, ³I do not think FIFA is going to ban Ghana because
Ghana is investigating crime, as FIFA itself would not want football to be
tainted. FIFA should be interested in knowing how football money has been
used to perpetrate crime². Lawyer Bright Akwetey tried to justify the EOCO¹s
raid of the GFA¹s office. He said ones a court had granted the EOCO
permission to carry out the exercise, there must be some good reasons for
the raid. ³I do not know what information they had, but before they take
such actions, they go round, gathering information and assuring themselves
that there is a case to investigate. They don¹t normally behave ³by heart¹²
³This one went to court, and the court granted them permissionŠ Evident
would be shown to the court about what has been alleged, for which reason
they were seeking the authority of the court to go in and collect materials.
The judge may have seen the information that is why he gave them the
warrant. I have not seen them acting this way for a long time, so to act
this way, there must be something somewhere which has not been disclosed to
the public². For this reason, Lawyer Akwetey wants members of the general
public to exercise restraint in condemning the raid. Story by Abena Asiedua