The Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan Constituency in the Western Region, Lawyer Joe Ghartey, has queried both the Finance Minister and the Minister of Youth and Sports, asking them to clarify some claims made in the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
Ken Ofori-Atta, had claimed that the Essipong Stadium in Sekondi was undergoing renovation and at the time of presenting the budget, was 90percent complete, but this has turned out to be false as there is no work ongoing there.
Former Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, throughout his tenure, never spared any effort talking about the refurbishment of stadiums across the country, but it is unclear, if his successor, Mustapha Yusif, just swallowed the brief he was given months ago, without verifying or was just out to deceive parliament and the people of Ghana.
“Mr Speaker, some stadia across the country were renovated in 2021 and are at various stages of completion as follows: Accra Sports Stadium – 98% complete; Phase I of Baba Yara Stadium – 98% complete; Essipong Stadium – 90% complete; and Cape Coast Stadium – 60% complete,” Mr Ofori-Atta, had told Parliament last week Wednesday.
But the status of Essipong Stadium, has sparked controversy as there are photos circulating on social media disputing Ken Ofori-Atta’s account of the percentage of work done.
A leading sports journalist, Saddick Adams, cited a journalist who recently visited the stadium as saying work so far on the facility was not even 10percent complete.
Photos he posted on Twitter showed ceilings in ruins, overgrown weeds outside the facility, as well as on the pitch.
The seats in the stands are also in a state of disrepair and there are metal scaffolds still standing in some parts of the facility.
Joe Ghartey, who is a MP on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is asking the Finance Minister and the Sports Minister, Mustapha Yusif, to provide details on the facility which is visibly in ruins, taken over by weeds, reptiles, spiders and cobwebs.
In a letter dated November 19, 2021, Mr Ghartey, a former Minister of Railway Development in the Akufo-Addo government, wants Mustapha Yusif to provide details on the claims of “the Finance Minister in the Budget Statement delivered on Wednesday, 17th November, 2021” stating “that the rehabilitation works on the Essipong stadium is 90% completed”.
Mr Ghartey, stated that “My checks reveal otherwise. As Member of Parliament for the area, I would be grateful if you could furnish me with the update of the said project, which is located in my constituency”.
“Furthermore, if the information given is inaccurate, please furnish the Finance Minister with the accurate information to enable him to advise himself accordingly. The project is of great interest to me and my constituents”, said the onetime Minister of Justice and Attorney General in the Kufuor Administration.
It’s not clear, where Ken Ofori-Atta, got his facts on stadia across the country from.
But the refurbishment of stadiums across the country was on the lips of former Minister of Youth and Sports, Issac Asiamah throughout his tenure.
Issac Asiamah, had detailed percentages of work completed and financial commitments made to various contractors one of whom was mentioned as a younger brother of the Finance Minister, Ofori-Atta, himself bearing the same surname, and was working on the Accra Sports Stadium.
However, the Finance Minister’s budget statement is being disputed with pictorial evidence, Joe Ghartey’s letter among others, could spark rage against the Akufo-Addo government, and lead to investigations as to the whereabouts of various sums of money allegedly spent on the renovations.