The Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called for the suspension of all budgetary allocations to the Black Stars to make way for an independent forensic audit into their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament expenditure.
He noted that the suspension of all budgetary allocation to the team must affect the ongoing scouting for a new head coach in the stead of Chris Hughton.
“It is clear to me that the only way out of this grand mess is to immediately curtail any further expenditure on the Black Stars including that ill-advised, rushed and misguided search for a new coach, and to urgently commission an independent forensic audit.
“Parliament must also assert its constitutional oversight authority when the House resumes. These outlandish breakdowns, illegalities and insulting opacity must be probed and sanctioned — we cannot afford to let the people down.”
His entrenched stance comes after he intercepted some letters purportedly by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Finance Minister and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department relating to the expenditure of the Black Stars for their botched AFCON campaign in Cote d’Ivoire.
The lawmaker shared a letter on Monday by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to the Finance Ministry requesting an amount of US$8 million as budget, causing public uproar.
He followed up on January 30 with the release of two documents allegedly confirming the payments of said requested amount.
One of the documents- a letter purportedly by the Minister for Finance to the Controller and Accountant General- instructing the release of part payment of US$5,071,840.36 which is equivalent to the sum of GHS60,306,717.80 out of the budgeted US$8,506,450.00.
According to the document, the Black Stars’ preparation a few days before the AFCON cost GHS15.3million; Air transport and per diem was GHS14million; provision for Group stage bonuses amounting to GHS14million, and honorarium at GHS2.1million.
A bank transfer advice from the Controller and Accountant General confirmed the release of the funds to the Ministry of Sports.
Hon Ablakwa also alleged that a separate budget for the supporters of the Black Stars was sent by the state.
“Deep throat sources inform me that the budget was managed by National Security. Nothing will stop us from demanding full accountability on this too,” he noted.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) reacted to the publication of the budget by the legislator, calling it cheap politics.
“He should concentrate on his job of passing bills in Parliament and stop engaging in small, cheap politics in football. It is not the best,” Nana Oduro Sarfo, an Executive Council member of the GFA is quoted as saying by JoyNews.