Herald Vindicated At Dzamefe Probe
Developer of Ghana’s 2014 World Cup website, has denied ever being paid Gh¢22,000 for his services, putting former Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah in tight corner to justify the expenditure he submitted on the Brazil tournament from which he claimed a profit was made.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dominion Technologies, Eli Evans, he only received an offer of GH¢5,000 for constructing the Ghana-to-Brazil 2014 website, ghanatobrazil2014.com.
He was giving his testimony at the World Cup Commission investigating Ghana’s disastrous participation at the football tournament last June.
His testimony vindicates The Herald’s position that there was a mind-blowing “Black hole” in expenditure submitted by Elvis Afriyie Ankrah with respect to the website and promotion of the World Cup tournament titled “Fanatic Promo”.
This paper had said that the cost of GH¢22,000 for the website was too expensive, because the normal price was between GH¢1000 and GH¢2000.
Also, “Fanatic Promo” was published in various newspapers free of charge, following pleas from the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), that the Youth and Sports Minister wanted it published free in the various newspapers, yet a GH¢461.020 (¢4.61 billion old Ghana cedi) expenditure was drawn from the World Cup budget.
Following this, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, went to the Justice Senyo Dzamefe Commission, claiming the paper had lied against him and insisted that The Herald should be invited to respond to some questions.
But unfolding events, have vindicated the paper, especially the appearance of Fred Darko and the CEO of Dominion Technologies.
The CEO, became a target of interest after Elvis Afriyie Ankrah’s revelation that GH¢22,857 was spent on the development of the website and Apps. The figure formed part of GH¢4,509,635, raised from corporate entities and individuals to send supporters to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
But explaining the issues, he said, the Minister’s testimony was misunderstood to mean that the entire figure of GH¢22,857 was spent on the website only.
Following this misinterpretation, he said, he has become a source of ridicule and embarrassment on social media.
“They decided to just peddle falsehood, including tagging me and my colleagues on facebook in very derogatory write-up which I find very very unfortunate”, Eli Evans said.
The CEO, revealed that he was yet to receive his fee, noting that “that particular invoice has not been honoured yet”.
On the website of Eli Evans & Nocheski of Dominion Technologies, is a disclaimer that “Note: This is NOT the website for which the Ministry of Youth & Sports paid part of the GHC22, 875! Call for clarifications”. He asked interested persons to call -0268002020/0244668402.
Fred Darko, Coordinator for World Cup Committee, also answered The Herald questions on whether or not winners were declared in the “Fanatic Promo”, but saying the promotion was withdrawn after over GH¢300, 000 was blown on the advertisement.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that most of the people engaged to do one service or the other with the Committee, were only given verbal contracts not a written and document contracts.
The Brazil tournament was one of the most advertised events in both local and international media, it, therefore, comes as a surprise to many that a poverty-stricken nation like Ghana, will blow this whopping amount on marketing an already marketed worldwide event.
Also shocking, is the enormous amount spent on the development of a website for Ghana’s participation by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Indeed, the internet site was not known throughout the tournament, despite the huge money blown on it. Designing and hosting of many websites are also going for far less than GH¢22, 857 – almost ¢300 million – quoted.
Excerpts of “Expenditure (Ghana World Cup Committee)” sighted by The Herald, had items such as accommodation, feeding, printing, souvenirs, media relations, website and app listed, with corresponding amounts stated.
Members of PRINPAG, got an email titled “Promo Advert from Ministry of Youth and Sports” sent by the Sports Ministry through PRINPAG’s Executive Secretary, Kenteman Nii Laryea Sowah, for free advert publications in their various private newspapers.
According to Mr. Sowah, a meeting was held between PRINPAG executives, which included Daily Guide newspaper owner, Gina Blay and the Ministry of Sports, led by Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah, where an agreement was reached to have all the private newspapers in Ghana, help the ministry “promote the Black Stars in their quest to conquer the World in BRAZIL 2014”.
PRINPAG’s Executive Secretary in the same mail then sent three different adverts titled “Fanatic Promo” to be published in newspapers, such as the Daily Guide, the General Telegraph, the Finder, the Daily Express, the Insight, the Business and Financial Times, The Herald, The Democrat, among others free of charge.
Yet, months after these free publications, GH¢461.020 (¢4.61 billion old Ghana cedi) has been revealed by the same Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah as what was blown on the World Cup tournament, by way of advertisement.
The same Afriyie-Ankrah, had also mentioned the development of a single website, at a cost of GH¢22, 857 to the Ghanaian taxpayer, while most website developers in the market are developing websites at a paltry GH¢2000 (¢20 million), including hosting, content and management.
In the same evidence, printing and souvenirs were priced at GH¢128, 314.93, accommodation and feeding were pegged at GH¢1,953,096.52 with media relations costing GH¢16, 700. Others on the list were 1849 tickets for three matches totaling GH¢519, 035. 10, medicals were GH¢5, 283.37, transportation at GH¢140, 269 while entertainment cost GH¢76, 370.
The “Fanatic Promo” advert, it will be recalled, was in three folds asking interested Ghanaians and soccer enthusiasts to purchase a raffle and “go for Rio for 70 pesewa”.
Another promo also said “fly off to Rio. Or drive off in two Fiat Lineas, and was titled, “Fanatic Promo” encouraged the public “to simply SMS “SCORE” to 3474”.
Aside the grand prize of two Fiat Lineas vehicles and a trip to Brazil, other consolation prizes were flat screen television sets, smart phones, phone credits, shopping vouchers and footballs.
Meanwhile about US$90,000 said to have been earmarked for per diem for the over 600 football fans that went to Brazil, was said to have been paid to the fans and questions are being asked as to where the money went if it was actually deducted.