A US-based Ghanaian Law Professor, H. Kwasi Prempeh, has asked Ghanaians to demand accountability from the Government on the US$20 million budget for the country’s participation in the 2014 World Cup.
His call, although welcoming, is seen as the first of its kind, especially so when Ghana’s participation in the Germany 2006 tourney with over US$16 million during the Kufour administration, has till date remain un-probed.
Mr. Kwasi Prempeh’s, call has also left many wondering. Government only acts on the budgets submitted to it by the Ghana Football Association (GFA), meaning the John Mahama government will only be releasing funds based on a budget from Kwesi Nyantakyi, GFA President.
It is unclear, whether Mr. Nyantakyi, whose administration is noted for paying huge winning bonuses to Black Star players, has submitted its budget to the government and justified it.
His bonus is ranked the highest in the world, ahead of countries such as, France, England, Egypt, Spain and others whose economies are performing creditably well.
Ghana is said to have spent US$19.5 million for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and an estimated amount of US$20 million is being bandied about as the likely budget for the 2014 Brazil campaign.
Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, failed to appear before the Senate to defend a proposed budget of US$9.5 million for the Super Eagles’ World Cup campaign in Brazil and the Ghanaian Law Professor, is wondering if Ghanaians will watch aloof, while their Government and the country’s Football Association “collude and make away with the cocoa farmers’ $20 million, claiming that’s how much the nation must spend to compete in the World Cup”.
According to Prof Prempeh, whilst Nigerians consider the US$9.5 million – which is about half of what Ghana spent on the 2010 World Cup and likely to spend on Brazil 2014 – as “extravagant” and “outrageous enough to earn the accountability-defying Sports Minister a sack”, “in poorer Ghana, the politicians, in alliance with our clever sports bureaucrats, are determined to get away with more than twice that amount, just as they have with Merchant Bank/Fortiz, GYEEDA and every other scam and deal they have cooked.”
Prof Prempeh, a known sympathizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) asked, “What is the supposed budget for Ghana’s participation in the World Cup? And could we get a similar reaction or result here?”
The Law Professor, wrote on his facebook page that the Government and the GFA will justify the expenditure by telling Ghanaians why the Black Stars of Ghana are not the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Prof Prempeh added: “…And international soccer being the opium of the masses, we seem ready to fall for that nonsense!”
“We are too easy to misrule! I think I would rather continue to pay my taxes to Uncle Sam!”
Proposed budgets for a few of the 32 countries Participating in Brazil 2014
The US football Federation’s World Cup budget for Brazil is listed at US$2 million although the amount may increase.
Algeria has proposed US$5.8 million; One million of the mount will be received from sponsorship.
Belgium on December 12 announced an allocation of €4.5 million for the national team for Brazil 2014.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Afriyie Ankrah, on Wednesday assured Ghanaians that the World Cup budget, will be made available to the public for them to see and judge, because they have nothing to hide.
Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, announced that he will quit politics after the 2016 elections.
The minister, has come under serious criticisms on the speculated US$20 million budget for Ghana’s participation at the FIFA World Cup 2014, which many Ghanaians believe to be exorbitant to be spent on the Black Stars.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ultimate Sports show on Wednesday, the minister expressed his frustration at what he describes as “cowardly diversionary and negatively” agenda against him by certain faceless people, who have their personal interests.
The Sports Ministry for years is seen, fingered and chastised as a place of corrupt officials and a den of thieves.
“Just for the public to know in 2016, when President Mahama crosses the light and wins his second term and [I] will quit politics forever”.
“I’m doing this work with all my heart, sometimes I leave the office at11pm. It is not all politicians who are thieves. If I have managed two campaigns and never stole any money, why would I steal from here? It’s very unfair.
“We have met with the Chief of staff already and are yet to meet with cabinet as directed by the President, so on what basis can I as a minister come out to mention a figure when it has not been approved?. It’s not too late; the next cabinet is just next week, when it is finally approved; people can
make their comments”, he added
He, however, assured Ghanaians that the World Cup budget would be made available to the public for people to see and judge, because they have nothing to hide.
Meanwhile Ghana’s Black Stars, lost to Montenegro at a FIFA international friendly match on Wednesday evening.