The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has alleged that the Youth and Sports Ministry budgeted an estimated $8.5 million, equivalent to GH¢105 million, for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
According to the MP, the government and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) have tried to conceal the budget for the country’s preparation for the AFCON.
Mr. Ablakwa in a post on social media claimed he had intercepted documents from the Youth and Sports Ministry which peg the country’s budget for AFCON 2023 at US$8,506,450.00.
The legislator wants Parliament to probe the budget.
“It must be clearer now as to why the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government and FA officials have put up such a brave fight, albeit undemocratic, just to hide the Black Stars AFCON budget. Parliament must and will surely probe this astonishing budget when we resume from the 6th of February 2024,” he added in the post.
Below is Ablakwa’s full post on social media:
THE SECRET IS OUT; THE WAIT IS OVER — GOVT & GFA AGREED ON A BLACK STARS AFCON BUDGET OF AN ASTONISHING US$8.5MILLION (GHS105MILLION)
I promised in my publication last week on the staggering GHS27.9million taxpayers spent on the Black Stars between 2022 and 2023, that I shall subsequently, in the supreme national interest, share further information on financials relating specifically to the AFCON tournament in Côte d’Ivoire — I intend to keep that promise today.
Government and GFA officials have done everything under the sun to conceal how much they budgeted for the preparation and participation of the Black Stars at the ongoing 2024 AFCON.
Despite strenuous efforts by Parliament and the ever-dynamic and courageous Ghanaian sports journalists, the Youth and Sports Minister and his allies at the FA have blatantly refused to disclose this basic information — information the Ghanaian people have every right to know.
Under a transparent and accountable governance system, there should be no struggle, hassle, tussle and opacity over the Black Stars AFCON budget.
It is even more worrying that many days after Ghana’s internationally disgraceful and calamitous exit from the AFCON, and despite several press statements from the Sports Ministry and the FA, they have remained extremely tight-lipped on the Black Stars budget.
One wonders if Ghana’s AFCON Black Stars budget has become a nuclear code.
When an unaccountable government employs elaborate inimical schemes to hide information from the people, it is a patriotic duty to go every length to secure that information and bring it to the people’s attention — and SOA Oversight will not fail in that regard.
From the latest unimpeachable, irrefutable and indisputable intercepted documents in my possession — I can boldly confirm that the Ghanaian government and the GFA put together and agreed on a shocking AFCON preparation and participation budget of US$8,506,450.00.
This hefty US$8.5million translates into a colossal GHS105 million at current exchange.
Note that the GHS105 million is entirely separate from the GHS27.9million spent on the qualifiers.
The figure US$8,506,450.00 is contained in an intercepted letter from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, dated 2nd January, 2024. It is addressed to the Minister of Finance requesting part payment of US$5,071,840.36 from the total Black Stars budget of US$8,506,450.00. The request letter in issue is signed by Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. William Kartey on behalf of the Minister, Hon. Mustapha Ussif.
It would be interesting to know what thought processes went into a scary US$8.5million budget for a bankrupt country which has defaulted on its loans and is desperately seeking an IMF bailout.
It is worth noting that the prize money for the winner of the AFCON is US$7million. What this means is that even if the Black Stars had won the trophy, the public officials who put this budget together were determined to ensure that Ghana made losses in excess of US$1.5million.
I have been wondering how government and FA officials in a country like Zambia can approve a total budget of only US$2.1million for the same AFCON competition and be fine, but Ghana has to live large and ostentatious — a bankrupt country undergoing debt restructuring and unable to construct resettlement homes for victims of VRA’s catastrophic spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong dams.
A painful addition to the scandalous GHS105 million budget is that it did not guarantee success on the pitch either.
It must be clearer now as to why the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government and FA officials have put up such a brave fight, albeit undemocratic, just to hide the Black Stars AFCON budget.
Parliament must and will surely probe this astonishing budget when we resume from the 6th of February, 2024.
SOA Oversight shall be back with more explosive intercepted documents at 3pm tomorrow.
For God and Country.