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May 26, 2008 | Cup of Nations

Flak for CAN 2008 LOC

By The Chronicle
Flak for CAN 2008 LOC

Over 100 drivers whose services were hired during the recent Africa Cup of Nations in the country, have allegedly still not been paid by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC).

The drivers, made up of 29 bus drivers, and 84 saloon car drivers, have raised different concerns on how unfaithful the LOC has been to them.

They have described the LOC, as a complete failure, for their inability to live up to expectations.

The pain and anger, written on the faces of the drivers, has created an unfriendly atmosphere, between them and the LOC, especially the Fleet Manager of the [email protected] Secretariat, Mr. Ben Nyarko, who was in charge of the drivers.

The Fleet Manager, however, explained that he received a letter from the LOC, indicating that the money had been transferred into the [email protected] account, and so he immediately wrote a memorandum to his boss, Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby, informing him of the directive.

His outfit later got to know however that no money had been transferred.

“The procedure for the transfer of the money is to channel it through the Ministry of Finance to the LOC, and finally landing into the Castle account, before it can get to me for disbursement,” he added.

He further raised alarm, on how he faced the difficulty of handling more than three hundred calls, from the drivers each passing day, all on the same issue.

“Even though this is not the first time they have come into contact with me, they are behaving as if they did not know me,” he said.

Mr. Nyarko blamed the unusual behaviour of the drivers on the LOC, who had told them that they had released the money to him.

He alleged that he knew the LOC was trying to pay them back, for not allowing them to cheat the drivers.

According to him the LOC was going to pay GH¢15, across board to all the drivers, instead of GH¢25 for saloon cars, and GH¢35 for bus drivers.

Each driver would have earned GH¢700 on average, during the period of the tournament.

Delving into the unfortunate incident of a driver who allegedly called him on his mobile phone, threatening him, he said, he was in his office last week Monday, when he received a phone call where the caller told him, in plain language, that he had given him one week to give him his money, else his life would be in danger.

He, however, described as ungrateful, the action on the part of the driver, if he could behave in such an ungodly manner, after fighting on their behalf to prevent the LOC from cheating them.

He has since reported the case to the police at the Ghana Police Headquarters.

An official at the Independence Square, who pleaded anonymity, said the Ministry of Finance released money for usage during CAN 2008, and this money had been transferred into a Bank of Ghana escrow account, meaning they could not have access to the money.

He said they were waiting for the Controller and Accountant General, to move the money into the government account for use.

He, therefore, called on the drivers, to exercise restraint, since the money would be given out to them very soon.

When this reporter spoke to a cross-section of drivers, at the forecourt of the Independence Square, several sentiments were raised.

They revealed that during the CAN 2008, they were grouped into four, to serve the needs of the four match venues - Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi and Tamale.

According to the leader of the Kumasi team, John Oteng Osei, MTN promised each driver a mobile phone, with credit to make communication among them very easy, but they never saw anything like that.

They used their own money to buy credit, which cost them several Ghana cedis.

He added that after going through these series of disappointments, at their various centres, the Transport Co-Coordinator of the LOC, whose name he gave as Eddie, asked him to come for his money, but he refused with the explanation that he was not responsible for his payment.

“He wanted to pay GH¢15 per day, to pave the way for the other drivers to accept whatever they are given,” he added.

The leader of the Tamale team, Iddrisu Sulemana, on his part, described the LOC as a total failure.

He said they had no food to eat in Tamale. “It took four days for the LOC to get food for us to eat,” he said.

He added that getting a place to sleep, was also a problem for them, rendering most of them sick in the process.

Some drivers also had to buy fuel with their money, and got the refund later, because there was no one ready to provide money for that.

The drivers were exposed to all forms of inhuman treatment, during the whole period that the tournament lasted.

The drivers were however pleading with all persons concerned in their payment, to do so quickly, because they were in total distress.

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