…Over World Cup Commission Hearing
By Cecil Mensah
Officials of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), involved in huge expenditures on the FIFA tournament in Brazil, including a US$3 million sponsorship package for the Black Stars, are said to be sitting on tenterhooks afraid that they would be called to render a
detailed account on how much the state crude oil regulator pumped into the event.
The Herald has learnt that the appearance of the ex -Minister for Youth and Sport, Elvis Affriyie-Ankrah at the three- man Commission, chaired by Justice Senyo Dzamefe, has send shivers down the spine of the officials, who mooted the idea of using the Corporation’s hard
earned money, that could be used for the exploration of oil to sponsor the national team.
Aside, direct cash from private institutions and the government coffers, other state-owned bodies like the GNPC, gave out huge cash to the Ghana Football Association (GFA), towards Ghana’s participation in the Brazil event.
Indeed, GNPC also flew most of its staff, their spouses and children and friends in a chartered aircraft to Brazil to watch the tournament in which Ghana was adjudged one of the abysmal performers; leaving the tournament with only one point, despite the millions of dollars pumped in by the poverty-stricken nation.
Aside the fans and the cash donation to the GFA, GNPC also acted like a parallel organization, also printing all manner of souvenirs and other things in the name of the Brazil tournament.
The Commission, which also has Moses Foh Amoaning and Kofi Anokye Darko as members, has been tasked to investigate the circumstances leading to Ghana’s shameful performance at the FIFA tournament, as well as the expenditure.
Insiders report from the Tema office of GNPC, say that the officials have been busy holding series of meetings and looking for all relevant documents, covering details of the sponsorship package, as well as the flying of the forty two staff and their family members in a chartered plane at the expense of the state.
Among the list of issues the officials at GNPC are hoping to find answers to should the Commission invite them, will also be the doling out of per diems to officials and non officials of the corporation, who embarked on the trip to Brazil.
Again, the circumstances surrounding how one of its staff, Theophilus Aboagye, a 27- year old employee of the corporation and his friend Alexandra Paulo Da Silva 42, were arrested by the Brazil for soliciting sex from minors during the tournament.
The GNPC, gave out US$3 million as headline sponsorship package to the GFA. Later, US$3.5 million had to be flown in to the same players, who had insisted on getting their appearance fees or else they will not play the Ghana-Portugal match.
Before leaving Ghana for the tournament, government had cough up a US$9.5 million.
Some have worked up a total of US$16 million, as the amount spent on the event by a cash-strapped nation.
Insiders told The Herald, about how GNPC was converted into a “Father Christmas”, airlifting so many people including its staff to Brazil to watch the Mundial, aside dishing out a whooping US$3 million to the Black Stars and the Kwesi Nyatekyi-led GFA.
The Corporation, headed by Alex Mould, flew both senior and junior staff to support Ghana, and according to our sources, each of the junior staff who spent two weeks in Brazil, was paid a mouthwatering US$250 per day, as Per Diem allowance.
According to insiders, GNPC staff that remained in Ghana and waited for their colleagues to return before they joined in the soccer fiesta, also enjoyed the dollars. As things turned out, the Black Stars could not advance to the Second Round of the tournament, hence the second batch could not go, but chopped the monies.
US$250 per day for two weeks, were paid separately from a luxurious hotel accommodations, sumptuous food and other arrangements, which were also booked by GNPC.
It is unclear how much was given to senior staff, including Mr. Alex Mould, but the former National Petroleum Authority (NPA) boss, is said to have travelled with his wife and children.
Mr. Mould, was not alone as The Herald gathered other officers at GNPC travelled with their spouses and children for holidaying. For instance, the Human Resource (HR) Director, Naa Bortei-Duku alias Ms. Chinery Hesse, went with her husband, children and housemaid.
It is not known, how much the state agency responsible for exploration, licensing, and distribution of petroleum-activities in Ghana spent on the tournament, apart from the US$3 million sponsorship package to the Black Stars which begun in January 2013.
Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, Eric Pwadura, about a month ago, confirmed to The Herald, the airlifting of fans to Brazil to cheer the Black Stars, but said he personally could not go, because he had to stay back and work.
He, however, mentioned his colleagues namely; Ato, Linda and Ohene as people who went from his department adding, “I don’t have how much they were taken, but the point is that we are supporting the Black Stars; we have spent money to support the Black Stars”..
He queried “Off course, if we are ensuring that the Black Stars play in the World Cup, shouldn’t we also show or support them….? “That is the motivation for us sending some of our staff to support the Black Stars. And you see there were two assignments. The staff went there to work. They went there to actually work”, he said.
Mr. Pwadura continued that “We actually organized meetings with our sister company, Petrolbrass and we were looking for other opportunities, so you will realize that the staff who were on the trip were actually on official assignment”.
“So we were using one stone to kill two birds, because it’s very rational that if you are spending money to support the Black Stars to get them to play a beautiful game, you must as well have people in the stands to support them. So it was a business trip and that was what happened,” he explained.
He denied that spouses of the senior staff and their children, were sponsored by the GNPC saying, “You can check those figures, what the company did was that the communication was to the staff, but if a staff is coming with a spouse, the staff pays for the spouse. There wasn’t the case that the corporation sponsored staff and their spouses”.
Mr. Pwadura went on “there were also other management level people who brought their spouses and paid for. Well the flight was available and we took advantage of it. It was available and we just provided our numbers to join the flight”.
Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, also told The Herald that there was no truth in the claim that GNPC charted an aircraft to Brazil, saying the flight was organized by Litina Travel and Tour; GNPC was approached and it paid for it staff and others who travelled in its name.