The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Odododiodio constituency, Mr Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuiye claims that all 275 members of Ghana’s Parliament were offered a slot by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to watch the senior national football team at the AFCON 2019 in Egypt.
Nii Lante believes that the move was part of clandestine efforts by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah to silence expected criticism of the budget for the tournament by MPs.
The Odododiodio in an interview monitored by Graphic Online on Citi TV stated that Mr Asiamah “tried to shut Parliament up” with the gesture.
He said a letter was brought to Parliament for every Parliamentarian who wanted to watch the AFCON in Egypt to put their name down or nominate an individual from their constituency to represent them.
He said: “Party supporters have been sent. Look, the Minister tried to set Parliament up. Let me tell you like he said we all agreed that some journalists were sent so they come back, they cannot speak. Some of them who are speaking are being criticised for taking the money and coming to speak, you understand?
“Look, a letter was brought to us in Parliament indicating that all of us MPs who want to go to Cairo should put our names down, if we cannot go, then nominate one person from your constituency to go…”.
He said he suspected an ill motive behind the gesture so he advised the leadership of the Minority to reject the offer.
“Then I told my leadership, don’t go, a trap is being set for you. When you go, people are going to chop money. When they chop the money, when they come back you cannot criticise them”.
Mr Asiamah told Parliament on July 24 that the state spent $4,564,532.00 during the competition. The Sports Minister said the amount covered a training tour by the Black Stars in Dubai till they crashed out at the Round of 16 stage against Tunisia.
He mentioned that the expenditure covered the playing body, the technical team, Members of Parliament (Select Committee on Youth and Sports and Culture), GHALCA representative, staff of the Ghana Football Association, staff of the MOYS, journalists and some members of the Ghana Supporters Union.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) has been unable to disclose the number of supporters they flew to Egypt for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
According to Public Relations Officer of the MOYS, Elvis Adjei-Baah the ministry planned on sponsoring 100 supporters to the tournament but following discussions with the Ghana Supporters Union, the number increased.
“Before we went to Egypt, the ministry’s project committee met with Ghana Supporters Union and told them that we [ministry] can only sponsor 100 fans to the tournament, “he revealed in an interview on Joy FM.
“The union led by Abraham Boakye wanted more. So they said that we should vouch for them to get about 300 visas for supporters who were going to take care of their own flight, feeding and accommodation and we agreed.”
“Then again I know that there are some corporate organizations that sent supporters to Egypt.”
“When we got to Egypt, [after Ghana’s] first game we realized that there was a problem with attendance of supporters at the stadium. So there was an arrangement for the mobilization of supporters both in Egypt and from Ghana. We ended up shooting up in the number of supporters.”
“As far as the supporters in Egypt are concerned, the one that the embassy helped us mobilize, the only thing that we had to do was busing them to the stadium.”
“I can’t tell you the exact number of supporters we sent to Egypt for now because there are [still] some supporters in Egypt” he added.