The fairness and reasonableness of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to suspend the Deputy Sports Minister and the National Sports Authority boss over the Commonwealth Games alleged visa racketeering has been called into question.
Nana Akufo-Addo on April 12 suspended the Deputy Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide and the acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robert Sarfo Mensah.
The two are said to be among others who have been implicated in the Commonwealth Games alleged visa racketeering for some 60 fake journalists and athletes.
“This decision has been taken following preliminary investigations conducted into the circumstances that led to the arrest of some sixty (60) Ghanaians, who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by false pretences in the on-going 21st Commonwealth Games,” a statement from the presidency explained.
President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Ben Nunoo Mensah; the Board Chairman of the National Sports Authority, Kwadwo Baah Agyeman andd the Chef-de-Maison for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mohammed Sahnoon, have also been recalled from the Games to assist in investigations.
But the youth group, Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana, in a statement Sunday said the president “failed to be fair, candid or reasonable” in exercising his disciplinary powers over the two officials.
The group did not understand why in other equally serious scandals, the president allowed those involved to continue to hold their positions while investigations were ongoing but in the case of the visal scandal, he has suspended the two officials.
They cited the bribery allegation against Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko, corruption allegation against BOST MD, Alfred Obeng, conflict of interest allegation against Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and the bribery allegations against the two deputy chiefs of staff to buttress their case.
Those at the centre of these scandals, the group said, were not suspended but left to be at post until “conclusive investigations cleared them”.
“So this novelty of asking deputy Sports Minister and the NSA boss to step aside for investigations surely has a reason lurking beneath it and we as citizens need to know,” a statement signed by convenor of DYMOG, Edward Tuttor said.
The latest action by President Akufo-Addo, according to DYMOG, clearly shows that the president has been “unprincipled” as he has broken his own code of keeping persons under investigations at post until investigations were over.
The group contended that the visa scandal goes beyond the Ministry of Sports and the NSA, suggesting there could be possible involvement of the Foreign Affairs ministry, the Ghana Olympic Committee and the Ghana High Commission to Australia.
“Therefore, the question that arises is why the suspension of only two officials, why did the President decided to target only two gentlemen who are just small fishes in the scheme of affairs,” DYMOG asked.In DYMOG’s estimation, the suspension of the two officials “constitute bias” and that they are being “used as scapegoats”
Again, the group argued that the decision by Nana Akufo-Addo clearly prejudices the case.
It stated that since comprehensive investigations were yet to be conducted into the matter by the Police Criminal Investigative Department, Akufo-Addo’s decision will “mount pressure” on investigators “to vindicate the President in the final analysis”.
It has thus urged President Akufo-Addo to explain why he has deviated from his “norm of keeping appointees at post while investigations go on”.
Some 60 Ghanaians who were part of Ghana’s contingent to the games were detained and deported by the Australian immigration authorities for posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes and officials.
The scandal has since caused great embarrassment to Ghana and officials of the GOC have since last week suspended two staff of the National Sports Authority after initial investigations implicated them.
The two, Christine Ashley and Husseini Akuetteh Addy, which according to Daily Graphic, were on seconded to the GOC to assist in their data entry for Ghana’s contingent, have been ordered to return to Ghana
Minority want full disclosure
Though the GOC is said to be investigating the matter which has caused hue and cry in the country, the Minority MPs want full scale independent investigation to establish the extent of fraud and identify personalities involved in the scandal.
That, the MPs say would forestall future occurrence.
“This proposed investigation must be initiated immediately by His Excellency, President Nana Addo-DankwaAkufo-Addo,” a statement signed by Kobena Mensah Woyome, ranking member of the Youth, Sports and Culture Committee said.
They on April 6 served notice to summon the Youth and Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, to provide full disclosure on the visa scandal