Soccer News Thu, 9 Dec 2010

Explain Matters To FIFA - Akwetey i



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

Source: Tenkorang/Xfm 95.1/Accra/Ghana