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11.03.2009 Politics

As Sefa Kayi presses for transparencySEGBEFIA RAGES OVER JOY RIDECastle Chief waxes arrogant as he clams over mystery sponsor and flays journalists

By Charles Takyi-Boadu - Ghanaian Chronicle
As Sefa Kayi presses for transparencySEGBEFIA RAGES OVER JOY RIDECastle Chief waxes arrogant as he clams over mystery sponsor and flays journalists

Under a barrage of questioning by Kwame Sefa Kayi of Peace FM, the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Mr. Alex Segbefia finally caved in and showed the temperament that made him kick his wife of several years standing (Lavia) in London, and exhibited a high degree of arrogance over queries of the 40-man government delegation that went to la Cote d'Ivoire.

This was during an interview with Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' morning show host, Kwame Sefa Kayi, at which Professor Agyekum of the University Of Ghana and Messrs Kwesi Pratt and Ken Kuranchie, who joined in the chorus of condemnation that greeted the youthful Alex's inquisition.

Though Mr. Segbefia admitted that the cost of the trip was not borne by government/state, he declined to give the names and identities of those who paid for it, describing it as a trivial issue.

Not even the explanation by Sefa Kayi that considering the controversy that the trip has generated, there was need to make public the names and identities of those who paid for the trip, in order to put the issue to rest, convinced Mr. Segbefia who retorted that certain journalists who remained quiet in the past had now suddenly regained their voices. To head off any suspicion of a fun-filled excursion, Alex slipped in a suspicious comment that there were only three women on the trip, though he did not mention who the damsels were pairing with.

This, according to him was because reports in sections of the media sought to create the impression that those who embarked on the trip were all members or fanatics of the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC), and that the financing of the trip amounted to dissipation of the already scanty national resources.

Pressed further to ascertain who indeed sponsored the trip, Mr. Segbefia, who was raging and raving with anger, demanded to know the relevance of the story. He virtually questioned the credibility of the line of questioning by the host, when he asked why and how certain journalists were making an issue out of the trip, expressing surprise about how according to him, some journalists have suddenly found their voices to be asking critical questions about government spending.

Though government, specifically the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Presidency, has not been forthcoming with information on the sponsors of the government delegation to the just-ended CHAN 2009 soccer fiesta in Cote D'Ivoire, The Chronicle's further questioning has revealed the names of the two individuals who bankrolled the trip, described as a joy ride by Mr. Kwesi Pratt.

Sources close to the delegation yesterday told the paper that Messrs Kojo Bonsu, an agent of sports kit manufacturers, Adidas, and William Ade-Coker, former Chairman of Accra Great Olympics Football Club, were the ones who picked the bills, though it raised rumours that it was one of the telephone companies anxious to position themselves in pole position in the telecom industry.

In all, they were said to have paid an amount of GH 12,000 cedis for the chartered Airforce plane. Mr. Kojo Bonsu has since confirmed to the paper that he and Mr. Ade Coker truly paid for the trip. He was, however, not prepared to disclose the amount involved in paying for the cost.

Mr. Kojo Bonsu said he saw nothing strange with organizing the trip since it is something he has been doing from time immemorial. He recalled having organized similar trips to Cape Verde and Mali for people to go and cheer up the 'Black Stars' when they were playing matches in those countries.

Reverend Osei Kofi was also surprised by the controversy that the trip has generated, considering the fact that it was a return journey coupled with the fact that they were not given any per diem.

He also denied that the trip was sponsored by government since he was personally asked by Kojo Bonsu, the organizer of the trip to select some members of the retired footballers Association to join the government delegation to cheer the Stars.

The government delegation was led by Mr. PV Obeng, head of the Government Transition team and 39 others including the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, the man in the eye of the storm, Alex Segbefia, veteran 'Black Stars' players, Reverend Osei Kofi, Awuley Quaye Jnr. and Mohammed Polo.

The rest included sports journalists including Yaw Ampofo Ankrah, who was said to be lobbying for the position of Deputy Minister of Sports, Charles Osei Asibey of Happy FM, football Commentator Nana Agyemang, Adom FM's Kofi Asare Brako and a host of other selected supporters and fans whose political identities are not known, contrary to the impression being created that they were supporters of the incumbent government.

However, sources close to the delegation have told the paper about how the 'boys' (Black Stars) felt gingered up upon seeing the government delegation and retired footballers who had come not only to inspire them, but to grace the occasion.

The entire stadium was said to have gone agog when the presence of the Ghanaian government delegation was announced, unfortunate as it turned out to be, that enthusiasm could not ignite passion for the 'boys' to lift the trophy at stake, as in the case of their Congolese counterparts who fought to the last breadth to lift the trophy.