CLICK HERE FOR ARCHIVE OF DAILY SUMMARIES
The highlight of day nine of the Dzamefe Commission was not a testimony, but the power failure that truncated the hearings around lunchtime on Tuesday.
This resulted in an abrupt adjournment to Wednesday after about an hour’s hold up.
The power outage occurred when the Project Coordinator of the World Cup Secretariat, Fred Darko, was answering questions on the criteria used in selecting ambassadors and artistes for the project.
But before then, Darko had been questioned about a number of issues.
During interrogation by state senior attorney Jonathan Acquah, the appearing Fred Darko confirmed that he was the managing director of Evolution International.
The commission heard that Darko was appointed by the former Youth and Sports minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah on February 25 with the mandate to be a liaison between the six sub-committees that were formed to implement the roadmap for the project.
“I played a central role…We wanted a central coordination point and hence the formation of the secretariat so that it will serve as an operational point. I was now the face to pick the relevant information to the ministry.”
But when put on the spot about whether he had officially accepted the job in writing, Darko said his acceptance of the job had been done verbally.
Moses Foh-Amoaning, a member of the commission, charged Darko not to repeat that mistake.
And is he still an employee of the ministry, though Ghana was eliminated at the end of June?
“Technically, I’m still an employee of the ministry till August 31,” Darko confirmed.
Samini dropped, Jackie Appiah taken
The Commission questioned Darko about the criteria for selecting the 15 ambassadors that were taken to Brazil.
The commission noted that actress Jackie Appiah in particular in Uganda at the time of her appointment and in her stead, other colleagues “like Kyeiwaa or Adwoa Smart” could have been chosen.
Darko (pictured, right) noted that time constraints and other factors informed their decision.
But this did not amuse the commission.
“Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying Jackie does not qualify but we want to know why she was chosen over actresses like Kyeiwaa [real name: Rose Mensah] or Nadia [Buari],” said Justice Dzamefe.
There were three women among the 15 women, which led the commission to ask why these “grownups” needed chaperons.
One Mrs. Marilyn Efua Houadjeto was contracted to manage the icons, and Darko’s explanation was that they “wanted somebody who had what it takes, I mean soft skills and audience appeal to manage the egos of these icons.”
As for dancehall artiste Samini, he was dropped because he wanted to work in a commercial capacity and the secretariat “did not have money available for that,” according to the project coordinator.
The contentious issue of why Brazilian visas could not be acquired for Ghana’s celebrated ex-footballers while musicians were well catered for was addressed.
Darko, after pointing out that ambassadors were selected from two broad areas: old footballers and entertainers (musicians and actors).
But the coordinator was put on the spot when he failed to recollect how the “old footballers” were selected, considering that most of the players who won Ghana’s four African Cups were given scant attention.
“If I remember, I think what went into the composition was that [since there are two categories of footballers] the focus was on the immediate past generation.”
Foh-Amoaning pointed out the nation’s past heroes must be accorded due attention.
Darko noted that he was part of the committee that chose the 15 ambassadors, who were selected based on their audience appeal to the corporate world, appeal through social media and their networking potential.
“One of the reasons [why we chose this group] was [because they were] to solicit for sponsorship [and for that] we needed relevance…”
Foh-Amoaning pointed out that the criteria used to select the ex-footballers was quite flawed, because – in his view – corporate Ghana would readily have identified with players such as Osei Kofi and others from that generation.
Darko also revealed that the use of ambassadors was not part of the original plan but due to the fact that the secretariat was badly behind on its fundraising activities, they needed emergency measures to raise money.
Despite saying that his appointment by the ministry made him “a volunteer”, the marketing consultant disclosed that he was entitled to a GHS 100 sitting allowance as other committee members.
Darko was quick to add that the only exception was the two preliminary stakeholders meetings which attracted GHS 200 per person.
The secretariat started work on April 1, though the inaugural stakeholders meeting on December 21, 2013 took place at the Accra International Conference Center.
Failure to do due diligence
Fred Darko told the commission that his outfit failed to conduct due diligence on the three travel agencies they contracted.
His admission suggested that the three agencies – Travel Matters, Kenpong Travel and Tours, African Origin Travel and Sports Tourism lacked the needed expertise for the task handed them.
“We didn’t do due diligence on the travel agencies, that was a lapse, admittedly, by the committee.”
Darko also said his team failed to examine the bank accounts of the travel and tour agencies to assess their financial capacity to pre-finance the trip.
“We find out that we didn’t do due diligence on the travel and tour agencies by way of looking through their bank statements to see if they were capable of pre-financing when need be.”
“These are some of the things we didn’t do – to go into details about their financial capacity. But then the three that were shortlisted had the experience and track record.
“But the lapse was that we didn’t get into details about the financial capacity.”
The specifics of the duties each sub-committee executed will be delved into in later hearings.
CLICK HERE FOR ARCHIVE OF DAILY SUMMARIES
By: Gary Al-Smith/Citifmonline.com/Ghana