Details have emerged on how the Youth and Sports Minister, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, forcefully pulled his Deputy, Pius Enam Hadzide, into the scandal that engulfed the country’s participation in the 2018 edition Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Mr Kwaku Baako Junior, speaking on Joy FM flagship programme—News File—on Saturday, alleged that Mr Asiamah, in a report to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, recommended the suspension of Pius Enam Hadzide, although the deputy Minister was not involved in the scandal.
Mr Hadzide, together with the Acting Director-General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robert Sarfo Mensah, were suspended after preliminary investigations into how some 60 persons were arrested for attempting to enter Australia under false pretences in the just-ended 21st Commonwealth games.
A statement announcing their suspension further stated that the Board Chair of the NSA, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, and the Chef-de Maison for the Commonwealth, Mr Mohammed Sahnoon, have also been recalled from the games village to assist in investigations.
However, addressing a gathering of New Patriotic Party (NPP) faithful ahead of last Saturday’s delegates’ conference in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, the President announced the reinstatement of the deputy sports minister and the NSA board chair after the investigations exonerated them.
According to Mr Baako, details of a May 12, 2018 memo from the sports minister and addressed to the President, in which “he [Asiamah] actually recommended that the deputy minister for youth and sports should be suspended.”
“After meeting with the GOC [Ghana Olympic Committee], officials on 5th April, 2018 emplaned to Ghana. On arrival at the Airport on 6th April, 2018, I came straight to the office and called the deputy Minister and the Director-General of the NSA to my office for a meeting. At the meeting, the Director-General admitted that he caused four names to be inserted in the list while the Chairman of the NSA Board, Kojo Baa Agyeman, added five people.
“The Deputy Minister denied any wrongdoing on his part although many of those deported have implicated him. It is rather sad that members of the NPP [governing party], who have been entrusted with the responsibility of serving the nation, should put their parochial interests above that of the nation.
“Although the Deputy Minister has denied any wrongdoing, it is difficult to understand why the Chairman of the International Games Committee [Deputy Minister] did not know that the Director-General of the NSA and the Board Chairman of NSA had caused some names to be inserted in the accreditation system.
“It is therefore unacceptable for the Director-General and the Board Chairman of the NSA to say that they caused to be inserted only four and five names respectively. Indeed more than 60 Ghanaians were detained in, and deported from Australia. The question is who facilitated the acquisition of the visas and the accreditation for the rest of the people and how did these people escape the attention of the deputy Minister if he claims to be innocent?” the minister quizzed in the said memo, as read by Mr Baako.
Mr Baako wondered if the sports minister would be comfortable to work with his deputy again, following the failed “determination to drag in the subordinate…”
“I realise that the superior was unfair to the deputy…I wonder how the minister of youth and sports is feeling right now in the wake of the restoration of these two gentlemen,” he stated on the programme.
He said an interim report from the Presidency detailing why the two gentlemen were cleared of wrongdoing would lay to rest speculation by critics that the investigation was not what it was purported to be.
He asked: “How was the chairman cleared? Did it turn out that the D-G was lying? And then the minister, how is he feeling? Is he going to work with the deputy? Is he going to work with the board chairman of the NSA?” Mr Baako asked.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH