GOC President Runs For Cover; Sports Minister Dodges Independent Probe
The Herald’s painstaking investigations, have landed the names of some of the individuals, who were smuggled to Australia under the cover of Ghanaian journalists interested in reporting on the Commonwealth Games in that country, but were arrested and deported by the Australian Immigration.
The list also shows the media organizations criminally assigned to them by officials of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to outmaneuver the Australian Immigration.
This is not the first time Ghana’s contingent, has attracted headlines in Australia. In July 2009, that country witnessed a miracle, where Ghana’s Deaf and Dumb soccer team, invited to that country started singing Jama and clapping to the shock of their host in Australia. In that incident, Ghana travelled with 39 persons to Australia out of which 25, could hear and speak clearly.
Additional documents in possession of The Herald, suggest a rather serious situation where the visa racketeers at the GOC, forged the letterheads of some media organizations in Ghana, to deceive the Australian High Commission into granting the fake journalists the visas to that country.
This means, aside the impersonations, media houses have letters they haven’t authored in their names at Australian High Commission in Accra, and could have trust issues in the future with foreign missions and other reputable organizations based on these forged letters.
Some of the said journalists, have since been deported, after failing to answer basic questions posed by the Australian officials.
Most of them, did not also have basic journalistic tools on them, meaning they had planned to stay and work in that country illegally. Others are currently in detention camps awaiting deportation to Ghana.
Interestingly, The Herald, has also landed another document written by the President of GOC, Ben Nunoo Mensah, in which he specifically implicated Hussein Addy and Christin Ashley, as having tempered with the accreditation process and sneaking individuals, who were not eligible to be in Australia for the Commonwealth Games.
In the list available to The Herald, was an unknown media house called ‘’Joy Daddy Multimedia’’. A certain Sarpong Sarkodie Isaac’s name was given to the Australian authorities as the journalist to report on the games for the media house.
Most of the media houses in the list, appear relatively unknown. Aside this, the said journalists are also not familiar names in the media fraternity.
Sources at the Australian High Commission, has revealed one Paul Atchoe, identified as the 1ST Vice President of the GOC, sent visa request letters on behalf of the GOC, to embassy officials to facilitate their trip.
Paul Atchoe’s letters, mentioned other supporting documents that various media organizations, have attached to the GOC’s visa requests for a confirmation that the individuals indeed, work with the news outlets.
Strangely, Mr Nunoo Mensah’s letter, indicting Hussein Addy and Christin Ashley, addressed to one Mr. Sahnoon on April 5, 2018, did not cite any wrongdoing on the part of Paul Atchoe, Hussein Addy and Christin Ashley
The GOC President, however, claimed some ‘’five other officials who have been mentioned in the preliminary investigation, will also be interrogated and handled through their various organizations’’.
This implies that, aside the GOC officers;Hussein Addy and Christin Ashley, other organizations, also have their officials involve in causing Ghana, this international embarrassment.
The Herald’s investigations, have shown that Mr. Nunoo Mensah, cannot distance himself from the scandal.
An officer familiar with such issues told The Herald, “…the truth of the matter is that, no matter how many people they surreptitiously entered, ultimately at a meeting called the DRM with the Host of the Games, the GOC, will always have an option to go through the list one-by-one. So even if someone, had managed to smuggle names in, at the final DRM, GOC had an opportunity to take out the names that should not have been there. But, here is a clear example of someone, who will hang his own best friend when he gets hot, instead of standing up like a man and taking responsibility”.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, claims it has requested National Security to investigate the deportation of the 50 supposed journalists, who travelled to Australia with the country’s delegation to cover the Commonwealth Games.
The Sports Ministry and the National Sports Authority (NSA), have been accused of facilitating the acquisition of the visas as the travel documents presented by the affected individuals were genuine, even though they did not appear to be journalists.
But a statement signed by the Minister of Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, said the ministry, has referred the matter to National Security.
“The ministry has officially requested the National Security to thoroughly investigate circumstances leading to the acquisition of visas by undeserving persons who are in no way connected with the ongoing 21st Commonwealth Games in Australia”, the Graphic online reports.
“This follows some inappropriate actions by some individuals which have led to some Ghanaians being denied the necessary courtesies when travelling to Australia in connection with the Commonwealth Games”.
It added that, the Ministry believes the National Security, has the capacity to unravel the truth surrounding the unpleasant situation Ghana finds herself among the comity of sporting nations.
Ghana, is yet to win a medal at the games. All news on the contingent, has been about the smuggled individuals.