Thursday, September 10, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Mustapha Ahmed, has reportedly defied President John Dramani Mahama’s directive not to fly cash abroad for footballers.

In what can be likened to the Brazil episode of 2014, the ministry allegedly flew $200,000 cash to Kigali, Rwanda, at the weekend to pay the winning bonus of players of the senior national team, the Black Stars, in their match against Mauritius.

According to reports monitored on Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station, the hundred dollar bills totaling $200,000, were in two briefcases. The Black Stars defeated Rwanda 1-0 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Kigali, and payment of the bonus is still pending.

The players’ bonuses were said to have been hurriedly flown to Kigali by the ministry to avoid another standoff with the powerful national team players.

Physical Cash
Curiously, after the Justice Senyo Dzamefe Commission was set up by President Mahama to look into Ghana’s disastrous participation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the three-member panel recommended that never again should any department of the ministry transport physical cash outside Ghana.

Gov’t White Paper
President Mahama, after receiving the Commission’s Report, issued a White Paper and adopted most of the recommendations which included a charge not to  transport physical cash outside the country.

According to Joy FM, the ministry transported the physical cash to avoid a repeat of the Brazil debacle where the players almost boycotted the Portugal match if their appearance fees and bonuses for previous games were not paid to them.

The players were said to have been ‘patient’ with the government for not paying bonuses owed since June when the team beat Mauritius 7-1 in Accra and Togo 1-0 in a friendly, but were ready to forgo the Kigali one.

Gov’t Delegation
A high-powered government delegation led by sector minister, Dr Mustapha Ahmed, made sure each player received $10,000 on the eve of the game.

The report said the money was actually used to pay the players and officials for beating Mauritius in June but the Black Stars had not been paid for beating Rwanda last Saturday - courtesy a Mubarak Wakasso free-kick - and it was unclear when that would be done.

Brazil Debacle
It was confirmed last June that Ghana’s presidential jet was used to convey $4 million cash to the Black Stars in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup - an act which subjected Ghana to international ridicule.

It was revealed that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) released the $4 million cash on June 21, 2014 - which was a Saturday - against the central bank’s own working rules.

When news broke about the mode in which the money was sent to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia - where the Black Stars were due to face Christiano Ronaldo-led Portugal - the government insisted it was about $3 million it transported, but the Justice Dzamefe Commission’s report established that it was indeed $4 million.

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