02.04.2001 Sports News

BNI probes deals at Sports Ministry

By By Paa Kwesi Plange
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The offices of the embattled Youth and Sports Ministry have been buzzing with frenetic activity over the past one week with officers of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) scrammaging through piles of documents to uncover acts of malfeasance and corruption.

Chronicle learnt that employees of the Ministry are cooperating fully with the agency in their work to discover the missing piece in the enfolding jigsaw puzzle.

‘It is as if the Ministry is under siege,’ a Ministry insider complained to the Chronicle. The BNI are hell-bent on unravelling the mystery surrounding the disbursement of several billions of tax payers money blown in dubious contracts characterised by malfeasance and conflict of interest.

The investigations are in response to an undertaking by Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama to investigate malfeasance at the Youth and Sports Ministry. The Veep, who assumed oversight responsibility for the Ministry after the ouster of Malam Yusuf Issa, has issued a directive to the security agencies to work with despatch on their investigations in order to finally resolve the matter, Chronicle learnt. This is expected to put more mileage in the government’s intention to rid corruption from the body-politic, the source added.

Files on the National Olympic size stadium project for which a whopping $1.445million has been sunk already, (this was spent on feasibilities and architectural design), the Asare Original Pay-all Sports Lotto raffle and contracts awarded to cronies of top officials of the Ministry are also being scrutinised.

Interestingly, the contractor, B.V Eindhoven of Holland, has threatened to sue the Government of Ghana to recover an outstanding debt of $345,000, which is part of a total bill of $1.8million.

The contractors are being represented by Zimbabwe-based consultant called Victor Nartey, who is said to be a cousin of Mr. E. T. Mensah, the predecessor of Malam Yusuf Issa. Nartey’s company also provided the scoreboards at the Accra and Kumasi stadia. A staggering ¢20billion was also used to acquire the land for the project. ¢15billion of the amount was paid as compensation to the Nungua stool lands while ¢5 billion was paid to Regimanuel Gray Limited, a Real Estate Company.

Meanwhile, investigations into the $46,000 saga continue to throw up interesting developments. Chronicle has learnt that the woman who was seen at the offices of Malam on the fateful day the money went “awol” was not his secretary afterall. Her name is Kandey. According to information available to the Chronicle, Kandey’s name appeared on the visitor’s book as one of those who visited the former Minister just around the time the briefcase was packed.

Her connection to the missing money was disclosed by the two officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) in their reaction to Malam’s allegation that they took the money. Malam told an Accra radio station in the heat of the matter that the lady the two GFA officials saw was actually his secretary who had come to serve him tea. The police stormed Malam Issa’s home last Wednesday and took the briefcase which Malam claimed contained the missing money, which was to be paid as winning bonuses to the Black Stars.

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