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Sports News Tue, 7 Dec 2010

Raid on GFA: EOCO smells tax evasions

The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has justified the raid on the offices of the Ghana Football Association on Tuesday.

Mordey Akpadie, head of the EOCO told Joy News his office has reason to believe that the Ghana Football Association is in breach of the country’s tax laws.

The EOCO Tuesday besieged the offices of the GFA with a court warrant and took away with 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 unapologetic. According to Mordey Akpadie, their action is justified.

“We are a law enforcement agency. We work within the law. We don’t negotiate the law," he said.

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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.

He was particularly bemused that the FA is not cooperating with investigations when even the Office of the President, the Ministry of Finance, Youth and Sports and other agencies of state are assisting the EOCO with investigations.

Asked what the EOCO is investigating, 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 “information which suggests that there have been breaches of Ghana’s laws, tax laws,” he stressed.

He hinted that his outfit will return the seized documents within 24 four hours.

But Thadeous Sory, legal counsel for the FA, said the procedure adopted by the EOCO is unacceptable.

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Whilst Mr Sory conceded that the EOCO does have the constitutional mandate to undertake investigations of such kind, he said the “factual basis, the surrounding circumstances and manner in which it exercised its mandate, there are manifest breaches of the rights of the FA.”

He dismissed assertions that the FA has not been cooperative with the EOCO saying the FA needs to know the specific investigation the EOCO is conducting in order to provide the appropriate information.

Thadeous Sory said they will ponder over the situation and take the appropriate line of action.

Meanwhile, ex-GFA boss Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe said the action by the EOCO is "shameful and embarrassing."

He said there is absolutely no justification for the action by the EOCO and warned of dire consequences if FIFA is alerted.

Source: joyonline