Flew Over 42 Workers With Family And Friends
By the time the full detail of how much poverty-stricken Ghana sunk into the ongoing World Cup Tournament in Brazil comes out, Ghanaians would be asking themselves whether it is financially prudent to celebrate the senior national team, the Black Stars anytime its ventures into such endeavors or gnashing their teeth in tears because they are being robbed in daylight.
Although The Herald, has so far identified head-scratching payments totaling US$16 million, bits and pieces are still dropping, meaning the actual amount expended on the tournament is yet to be ascertained at a time when the government is heavily indebted to almost every group, state institutions and professional associations, including road contractors.
The Ghana National Petroleum Authority’s (GNPC) US$3 million headline sponsorship package, the controversial US$3.5 million and government’s US$9.5 million worked up to a total of US$16 million that the cash-strapped nation, pumped into the football fiesta, officially documented for now.
However, the state-own GNPC pumped millions of dollars meant for investments into oil exploration on the Brazil tournament in which Ghana recorded it most pathetic performance, coming out with only a point.
Insiders told The Herald, about how GNPC was converted into a “Father Christmas” airlifting over 40 of its staff to Brazil to watch the on-going Mundial, aside dishing out a whooping US$3 million to the Black Stars and the Kwesi Nyatekyi-led Ghana Football Association (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, confirmed that over 40 workers, were flown 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.
“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”, Mr. Pwadura said.
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.
Though he denied paying a whopping US$250 daily per diem, he could not provide the exact figure paid the staff and that which was paid the senior management level members, since he was up North attending a funeral, besides it was Saturday, and he was not in office.
GNPC has a contract with the GFA which allows it to gives the Black Stars US$3 million and this year’s cash was long paid to the GFA, before the controversial US$3.5 million was jetted to Brazil to pay the Stars for their Appearance Fee.
Asked to explain how the US$3 million sponsorship package works per the contract, Mr. Pwadura said, although the contract states that US$3 million should go to the Black Stars, he said that did not mean that every year, GNPC pays that amount to the GFA adding, that the money is given according to programmes presented to the GNPC by the GFA.
Explaining where GNPC get such huge money from, he claimed “that is our marketing budget”.
“If you study the Black Starts any time they are in action, we get international hit, we get local participation and for GNPC that wants to be a major player in the international oil and gas arena, which other platform will look better than the Black Stars brand, because we get international media presence, we get local participation in understanding our brand”.
Meanwhile, government has announced a three-man committee to investigate Ghana’s shambolic World Cup performance in Brazil 2014.
An Appeals Court Judge, Justice Senyo Dzamefe heads the committee, a statement signed by the new Sports Minister, Mahama Ayariga said.
The other members of the committee include ace Sports Broadcaster and lawyer, Moses Foh Amoaning, and Sports enthusiast Kofi Anokye Darko.
The committee became necessary after Ghana’s first round.
The exit crowned scandalous events off the field including an embarrassing airlifting of $3.5 million cash on a presidential jet, an act which made Ghana a subject of global ridicule.
Parliament is also about to setup a Parliamentary inquiry into the event especially the monies spent on the tournament.
It is most likely that GNPC will be called to testify before the two investigative bodies.