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19.03.2008 League Report

Bribery: Arsenals accuse Kotoko

By Daily Guide
Bribery: Arsenals accuse Kotoko
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League leaders Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Berekum Arsenals could be heading to the law courts over a bribery scandal.

Alhaji Yakubu Imoro, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arsenals says that some officials of Kotoko, led by the CEO had tried to bribe his team to play a match of convenience in the 2006/07 league season.

According to him, though he collected monies and some balls to that effect, he psyched up his players well to give Kotoko a sound beating (2-0), and returned Kotoko's items to them immediately after the game.

Alhaji Imoro threw the bombshell on a Kumasi-based radio station immediately Kotoko played a barren game in the 14th-week encounter of the on-going premiership with his team at Berekum last Wednesday.

Kotoko's CEO, Sylvester Asare Owusu had earlier indicated he would call on the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to ban the Golden City Park, home grounds of Arsenals on grounds of maltreatment to visiting teams.

Speaking in an interview with Sometimer Otuo Acheampong of Kessben FM, Alhaji Imoro who sounded exasperated, alleged that the three officials tried to bribe him with GHc6,000 and 10 footballs to offer them a win on a silver platter last season.

"These three men representing Kotoko approached me with the mouth-watering package to play a match of convenience. Takyi Arhin accompanied me to that meeting and he is ready to testify.

“We first deliberated on the issue at Eusberg Hotel at Sunyani and settled on an amount of GHc6,000 and 10 footballs if we allowed ourselves to be beaten by Kotoko in the said match.

"From the Sunyani meeting I proceeded to Kumasi and collected the money and the footballs from Mr. Asare Owusu at his residence.

"But after the humiliating defeat, Mr. Asare Owusu approached me for the money and the footballs right after the match at the stadium and I obliged and gave it to him."

Asked why he collected the money and the footballs in the first place knowing too well that it was against the rules of association football, Alhaji Imoro said, "I collected the package to prevent Kotoko from bribing my players.

"Since the package was with me they were rest assured that victory was theirs, so they did not attempt to deal directly with the players and it went a long way in helping us secure the win."

Alhaji Imoro, recounting what has happened in the past concerning bribe issues with Kotoko and his team, alleged, "In 2003 they came to me with the same package to play a match of convenience which 1 flatly refused, but the performance of my boys in the match suggested to me that Kotoko might have channeled the bribe to the players.

"With this in mind, I collected this bribe as a ploy to prevent Kotoko from going to bribe some of my boys to play it soft against them this time too, and luckily the strategy worked well for me".

But Alhaji maintained that he has the needed evidence to prove the authenticity of his claim, including 'witnesses numbering about 10' who he said are ready to testify and so dared anyone to take the matter to court.

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